FREDERICKSBURG, Va. ― Former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke says he would be willing to appear on Fox News.
“What specific format or show I can’t speak to, but yes, we will speak to Fox viewers,” O’Rourke told HuffPost at a campaign event in Virginia on Wednesday.
On Monday, a Fox News town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), another 2020 presidential candidate, was watched by nearly 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched town hall of 2019 so far.
Other Democratic presidential contenders are already planning to or have expressed interest in appearing on the cable news channel, whose audience leans heavily toward older conservatives who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
Fox News announced on Wednesday that it will feature a town hall with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) next month. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also reportedly in talks to appear in a town hall on the news channel.
Sanders’ presence on Fox News seems to have struck a chord with Trump ― at least judging by the president’s Twitter account. Trump weighed in on the senator several times on Tuesday, expressing surprise that the network agreed to host Sanders and that the town hall audience reacted so positively to him.
O’Rourke said on Wednesday that he wants to make sure he doesn’t “write anyone off,” although he “strongly disagreed” with Fox News’ coverage of Trump, accusing the network of failing to hold the president accountable.
“I will try to continue to engage with Americans regardless of the platform,” O’Rourke said.
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, however, said earlier this week that he would not reverse his decision to bar Fox News from hosting or televising any of the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debates because the network’s top managers “feel like they have to put the thumb on the scale.”
O’Rourke also shed more light on the low level of charitable giving indicated by his tax returns, which he released earlier this week. The Democrat and his wife gave $1,166 to charity out of a combined $370,412 income in 2017, putting them at the bottom among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who have released their taxes.
He told reporters on Wednesday that he and his wife donated as much as “thousands of dollars” to charities that they did not itemize on their returns “because it wasn’t important for us to take the deduction” and that he is now reaching out to those charities to account for the totals.
On Tuesday, he told reporters at another campaign event that he contributes in other ways through his work in politics.
“I’ve served in public office since 2005. I do my best to contribute to the success of my community, my state and now, of my country. There are ways that I do this that are measurable. And there are ways that I do this that are immeasurable,” O’Rourke said.