Why Can’t Ted Cruz (or Anyone Else) Pronounce Beto O’Rourke’s Name?

It sounds like “let go.”

Ted Cruz

Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA Wire

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Texas Senate race is a struggle over some of the most important issues of our time, so here’s something that’s not among them: Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s inability to pronounce the name of his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Here’s Cruz speaking at a rally on Wednesday in Wichita Falls, where he was joined by Donald Trump Jr.:

It wasn’t a one-time slip-up. This is how Cruz always says Beto O’Rourke’s name: Bay-toe.

It’s Beh-toe, though. Not Bay-toe. Not Bee-toe. Beh-toe. Beto, as in “Petco,” not Beto as in “Faygo.”

I don’t mean to pick on Cruz, although it’s kind of weird—it’s not as if O’Rourke goes around calling him “Tad.” Plenty of other people are pronouncing it wrong too, though, notably, not the narrators of Cruz’s attack ads. But it’s a pretty common nickname in Spanish-speaking areas like Texas, and it’s just four letters.

Besides, there are videos you can watch to figure it out. Here’s Beto, in his own words:

It has 2,100 views on YouTube. Maybe it should have more?

Portuguese World Cup goalkeeper António Alberto Bastos Pimparel is also a Beto. Here’s some sort of soccer vlogger (?) explaining how to pronounce that:

(This one’s particularly useful for the uninitiated, because it actually works up to the correct pronunciation through a series of slightly off versions.)

Here’s a young person showing off a cat named Beto:


The cat never says Beto, but the pronunciation is very clear.

And in case there was any doubt on the rest of it:

News you can use!


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend