President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer White Supremacist calls on Trump to stop using fear to motivate people Walmart employee urges workers to strike until the company’s stores stop selling guns Biden: Violent video games ‘not healthy’ but aren’t ‘in and of itself why we have this carnage’ MORE late Wednesday night responded to criticism from former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeTown halls are not the answer, DNC must sanction an official climate debate Democrats lash out at New York Times over early Trump ‘unity’ headline O’Rourke says Trump should not visit El Paso in wake of shooting MORE (D-Texas), who has repeatedly assailed the president in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso.

“Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!” Trump tweeted.

The president’s remarks come shortly after O’Rourke, a 2020 presidential contender, announced he would be attending an event on Wednesday to pay tribute to the shooting victims and counter Trump’s visit to the city. 

When President Trump comes to El Paso tomorrow, I will be joining our strong, beautiful, binational community at #ElPasoStrong. I hope to see you there,” O’Rourke tweeted earlier Wednesday night.

The El Paso native, who had previously run a competitive race against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzIncreased emissions in Texas are canceling out climate progress across the country Texas faces turbulent political moment CNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back MORE (R) in 2018, has garnered new interested in recent days after a viral moment in the wake of the mass shooting on Saturday at a Walmart. Asked by a reporter what Trump should do to prevent more mass shootings, a seemingly exasperated O’Rourke responded, “What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f—?”

The response was widely praised by liberals in the media, pointing to the growing frustration many on the left feel about how the press has been portraying Trump in the wake of the shooting. O’Rourke has dug in since then, going so far as to compare the Trump administration to the Third Reich.

The president has come under fire since the weekend, which also saw a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday. Critics have drawn a link between Trump’s rhetoric toward Latinos and the gunman in the El Paso shooting, who had apparently set out to kill Mexicans. 

Trump condemned white nationalism and racism in an address on Monday morning, but that has done little to quell the anger. On Wednesday he will visit both El Paso and Dayton, where he’s likely to receive a chilly, if not outright hostile, reception. 

The tragic incidents have left an opening for O’Rourke to regain the spotlight. The former congressman has gained little traction in the polls since announcing his candidacy for president earlier this year, with his debate performances doing little to improve his standing. But he has become the most prominent 2020 contender over the past week to address the shootings.

Earlier on Wednesday, O’Rourke said on CNN that the media can’t let Trump get off “scot-free” for his actions. 

“This is the most racist President we’ve had since perhaps Andrew Johnson, in another age and another century, and he is responsible for the hatred and the violence that we’re seeing right now,” he said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”

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