Beto: Cruz camp pushing fear after false claim O’Rourke used campaign cash to help caravan

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign said Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was spreading fear Friday after he falsely accused his Democratic challenger of letting staffers use campaign money to help migrants traveling in a “caravan” through Mexico.

Cruz made the claim during a Fort Worth campaign stop. He based the allegation on a video by Project Veritas, and said it shows O’Rourke staffers “taking campaign money and apparently using it to give it to people coming here illegally.”

Project Veritas is known for undercover videos claiming wrongdoing of various liberal groups.

O’Rourke’s campaign has stated that staffers bought baby wipes, water, fruit and diapers to donate to a Catholic nonprofit after more than 100 migrants seeking asylum were dropped off in El Paso. The campaign said the amount, less than $300, will be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

“Ted Cruz pushes fear and paranoia because he wants to divide and mislead Texans four days before this election,” O’Rourke said in a statement Friday in response to Cruz’s claim. “We should be bringing people together and defining ourselves not by who we are scared of but what we want to achieve.”

Texas Democrats took up for O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman, online Friday.

“This is the stupidity of our Texas Senator Ted Cruz,” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, posted on Twitter. “Yes, Beto’s vans drove 1,000 miles to the Mexico/Guatemala border where the caravan is located and brought everyone through customs just in time to vote. Get lost!”

At one point during the Cruz rally, the crowd chanted “Build that wall! Build that wall.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram