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

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!


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.