US President Donald Trump has ridiculed Beto O’Rourke just hours after the Democratic presidential hopeful ended his campaign.
The president used a profanity to describe his rival and said he “quit like a dog”.
Mr. O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, was highly critical of Mr. Trump after a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso in August.
He called the bloodshed a “consequence” of Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
On Friday Mr. O’Rourke said he was quitting the race for the White House as his campaign did not have “the means to move forward successfully”.
Mr. Trump’s response came days after he said Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had “died like a dog” during a US military operation in north-western Syria.
Speaking at a rally in Tupelo, Mississippi, the president branded Mr. O’Rourke a “poor,
“He came out of Texas a very hot political property, and he went back as cold as you can be,” Mr. Trump declared.
He had earlier mocked Mr. O’Rourke on Twitter.
He also described former Vice-President Joe Biden, a frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination, as mentally deficient, and said he was “dropping like a rock”.
Turning to the impeachment inquiry against him, the president said he believed an “angry majority” of American voters would support him.
The investigation was launched over allegations
that Mr. Trump improperly sought help from Ukraine to boost his chances of re-election, which he denies.
Announcing the end of his campaign, Mr. O’Rourke tweeted: “Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively.
“In that spirit: I am announcing that my
service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee.”
In a blog post thanking supporters, he wrote: “We confronted institutional, systemic racism and called out Donald Trump for his white supremacy and the violence that he’s encouraged against communities that don’t look like, pray like or love like the majority in this country.”
Democratic frontrunners tweeted their tributes to Mr. O’Rourke after he stood aside.
Mr. Biden said he had inspired many.
Elizabeth Warren commended his “commitment to ending gun violence”, while Bernie Sanders thanked him “for running a campaign to bring millions of people together”.
Mr. O’Rourke, 47, ran for president in March after losing his 2018 bid to oust Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
In that Senate race, he did better than any Democrat had in Texas for decades, running a campaign that invigorated the party nationwide and drew comparisons with former President Barack Obama.