Former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’Rourke2020 Dems call for NYPD officer in Eric Garner case to be fired A campaign focused on science over fiction The Hill’s Campaign Report: Obama legacy under spotlight after Detroit debates MORE (D-Texas) said Saturday President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump’s greatest allies for a 2020 win: AOC and ‘The Squad’ Trump defends position on trade after threat of new China tariffs Man punched outside Trump rally: ‘If anything, it’ll increase’ my activism MORE bore some responsibility for a shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed at least 20 people.
Asked by news reporters whether the president was in some part responsible for the shooting, O’Rourke, who formerly served as the city’s mayor, responded firmly.
“Yes. We’ve had a rise in hate crimes every single one of the last three years,” O’Rourke said Saturday evening. “During an administration where you’ve had the president call Mexicans rapists and criminals.”
“He is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country,” the former congressman and current 2020 candidate for president continued. “It does not just offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”
#BREAKING I just asked @BetoORourke if @realDonaldTrump is at all responsible for today’s mass shooting in #ElPaso He said yes and added that in his opinion, the President is indeed a racist. @abc7breaking @ABC pic.twitter.com/wA3iB3uLFN
— Michael Gordon KVIA ABC-7 (@MichaelGordonTV) August 4, 2019
O’Rourke’s statement came after politicians from both parties including Trump expressed their condolences for the shooting Saturday that injured as many as 20 people and killed at least 18, according to media reports.
Texas officials confirmed that the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old male from the Dallas area, was the author of a racist and anti-immigrant screed that appeared on the website 8chan before the attack.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), denounced the shooting as an act of “white terrorism” in a statement Saturday shortly before O’Rourke’s remarks.