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Beto O’Rourke’s Presidential Platform Is Actually a Restaurant Countertop

Dude, people need to eat food off of those!

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AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Texas congressman and newly minted Democratic presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke really likes standing on things. During campaign stops for his failed bid at the Texas senate last year, O’Rourke spoke to his impassioned followers from a variety of elevated positions: traditional risers, stepladders, the back of a pickup truck.

In his first presidential campaign event Thursday in Iowa, O’Rourke wandered into a coffee shop in Keokuk, Iowa, amongst customers and news crews and began making the traditional handshake rounds. It wasn’t long before the candidate was “standing on a chair taking questions, perched between paintings of flowers and musical instruments,” according to the New York Times. “This is democracy,” he declared while standing on his tower.

Later in the day, O’Rourke, a lanky 6 foot 4 inches, elected for an even taller surface: The countertop at Burlington, Iowa’s Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinker. “The crowd [was] so big inside this coffeeshop,” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported, that O’Rourke was forced to take to the counter. Pumpkin bars and jumbo snickerdoodles were removed to make room for his feet, per the Des Moines Register.

Beto O’Rourke Begins First Campaign Swing In Iowa As A Presidential Candidate
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke stands on a countertop as he talks with voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at Central Park Coffee Company March 15, 2019 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Next on the overcaffeinated O’Rourke tour of Iowa was a campaign stop at Central Park Coffee in Mt. Pleasant, where he once again scaled the counter surrounded by glass cake displays filled with muffins. During a visit to Mount Vernon, Iowa, the former House representative poured beer for customers at a bar called Yock’s Landing and visited Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill where he used a step stool to climb atop a counter and then awkwardly jumped down by grasping people’s shoulders.

Beto O’Rourke Begins First Campaign Swing In Iowa As A Presidential Candidate
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke answers questions from voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at the Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill March 15, 2019 in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Beto O’Rourke climbs down from his countertop stage in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

He rounded off the Friday stops with a trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, restaurant the Pig & Porter, where he opted to speechify from a bench.

Beto O’Rourke takes a break from countertops and uses a bench instead at the Pig & Porter.
Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty Images

After following O’Rourke for three days, one NBC News reporter knew one thing for certain: “This man loves standing on things.”

O’Rourke continued to test the sturdiness of Midwest countertops heading to Michigan on Monday. Easing his way into the morning, he chose a chair behind the counter at Hometown Heroes in the city of Center Line, Michigan. Later, during a visit to Detroit’s Narrow Way Cafe, the now-seasoned politician returned to his favorite coffee bar platform.

By now, political bystanders on Twitter have noticed the Texan’s penchant for pontificating from chairs and countertops.

The phenomenon has even spawned its own parody Twitter account, Beto Standing On Counters, with the tagline “Standing on Counters and other assorted furniture til ‘20.”

At press time, O’Rourke had moved on to Cleveland, where more than 300 people reportedly gathered at a bar called Gino’s Cento Anno to listen to O’Rourke speak. Reporter Seth Richardson noted on Twitter that someone tested a patio table outside, which O’Rourke eventually stood on during his visit before decamping to a different tabletop inside the bar.

While some people still aren’t quite sure what Beto O’Rourke stands for, we certainly know what he’s standing on somewhere in this big, complicated country called America — a counter.

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