FACT CHECK: Did The Houston Chronicle Publish An Article About Beto O’Rourke Challenging Greg Abbott To A Fight?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly features a tweet from The Houston Chronicle reporting former Democratic Texas Rep. and current gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke challenged Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to a fight.

Verdict: False

The image is digitally fabricated. A spokesperson for O’Rourke confirmed the candidate never made the remark.

Fact Check:

O’Rourke announced his candidacy for governor in November 2021, challenging Abbott for the office according to The Texas Tribune. He unsuccessfully campaigned for the U.S Senate and for President in 2018 and 2020 respectively, the outlet reported.

The Facebook image appears to show a screengrab of a tweet with a link to a Houston Chronicle article in which O’Rourke allegedly challenged Abbott to a fight at the Whataburger fast food restaurant in Austin. The tweet includes both a disparaging comment and an expletive aimed at Abbott.

“Just your typical liberal democrat calling for violence and doing so against the disabled. Tell me again who are the tolerant ones?,” the post’s caption reads in part.

The image is fabricated. No such article appears on the Houston Chronicle’s website or its verified social media pages. Likewise, neither O’Rourke nor Abbott have repeated or addressed the claim on their verified social media pages. There are also no credible news reports suggesting either man wants to have a physical altercation.

The Houston Chronicle shared an article to its website from The Associated Press (AP) confirming that the tweet was fabricated. The tweet appears to manipulate a Sept. 20 article from the outlet discussing the race’s spending efforts regarding courting Spanish-speaking voters.

“That is not a real story or quote,” Chris Evans, a spokesperson for O’Rourke, said in an email. Evans also directed Check Your Fact to the original article published by the Houston Chronicle. (RELATED: Did Beto O’Rourke Tweet ‘It’s Time To Ban Gun Ownership Across The Board’?)

In addition, Check Your Fact has contacted Houston Chronicle and Abbott spokespersons for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter