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CBS News reporter calls out Beto O'Rourke, says outburst was 'very clearly staged' to score political points

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CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

CBS News reporter Janet Shamlian described Beto O'Rourke's political stunt on Wednesday as "very clearly staged."

What did Shamlian say?

O'Rourke went viral on Wednesday after he interrupted a press conference at which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other leaders provided an update about the Uvalde school massacre, which left 19 schoolchildren and two teachers dead on Tuesday.

Shamlian was in the room when it happened, explaining afterward how O'Rourke staged the incident.

"Well, I did see what happened just before the press conference started," Shamlian began.

"I was in the third aisle ... third row on the aisle, rather, and there were two people across the aisle from me and a moment before the press conference started, they got up from their seats when Beto walked in," she explained. "So they were seat holders for him, and then he sat down.

"So his presence wasn’t really noticed in the 15 or 20 minutes that people were gathering inside because he was not in the room," she continued. "So this seems something very clearly staged by Beto O’Rourke and his campaign wanting to confront the governor at this moment."

CBS News host Tony Dokoupil agreed with Shamlian's analysis.

"To hear you talk about the seat holders for Beto O’Rourke, it definitely indicates that Beto had a plan to get in there and make some sort of a scene. We still don’t know exactly what he said. So it was staged as you pointed out," Dokoupil said.

After law enforcement officers escorted O'Rourke from the auditorium where the press conference was taking place, O'Rourke held court with media outside. O'Rourke blasted Republicans and Abbott specifically, demanded new gun control laws, and predicted shooting massacres will continue to happen because Abbott is governor.

Anything else?

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin explained late Wednesday why he sharply responded to O'Rourke's outburst and called him a "sick son of a bitch." He said a press conference giving an update on the tragedy is neither the time nor the place to discuss gun control.

"This community is broken right now. No community should have to go through what we've been through in this community, and for a person to come in there and start that crap — I have no respect for Beto," McLaughlin declared.

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