Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has called out the press for failing to “connect the dots” between President Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric and the actions taken by the white supremacist shooter involved in Saturday’s El Paso mass shooting.
When asked by an unnamed reporter to comment on what the president “can do now to make this any better” during his speech at a vigil held on Sunday, the former Texas representative frustratedly 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*ck?”
Captured in an audio recording by CNN reporter Eric Bradner, O’Rourke continues to point out that Trump “is not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country. So, you know, I just—I don’t know what kind of question that is.”
Beto O’Rourke on his way to his car was asked if there’s anything Trump can do now to make this better.“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 fuck?” pic.twitter.com/zjLYf4mzBr— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) August 5, 2019
O’Rourke’s response doubles down on his previous comments made to CNN in the aftermath of the shooting, in which the politician noted the massacre that left 21 dead and 26 injured was the product of Trump’s open racism and rallying of xenophobia: “Calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, warning of an invasion at our border, seeking to ban all people of one religion—folks are responding to this. It doesn’t just offend us, it encourages the kind of violence that we’re seeing, including my hometown of El Paso yesterday.”
Beto O’Rourke on the El Paso mass shooting: “We’ve got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we’re seeing. There is an environment of it … We see it from our commander-in-chief. He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he encourages it.”Via CNN pic.twitter.com/sCN5SmtEVW— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 4, 2019
Authorities believe an unsigned racist, anti-immigrant manifesto published online less than 20 minutes before the El Paso Walmart shooting took place was authored by the alleged 21-year-old gunman, suggesting the massacre was carried out as a white-supremacist terror attack in fear of a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.
Trump issued a rare condemnation of white supremacy (that still didn’t account for his racist and xenophobic language) during a White House address on Monday when discussing the shooter’s alleged manifesto: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” he stated. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.” Big words for a man who once called the increasing number of undocumented immigrants from Central America “like a war” on the United States and followed up Monday morning’s statement by pushing for immigration reform on Twitter.
O’Rourke later took to Twitter himself to reaffirm his statements:
We know what Trump is doing. He stokes racism. He incites violence. We shouldn’t be asking if there’s anything he can do or if he’s responsible for this when we know the answer. I stand by what I said. https://t.co/zykowSpS6s— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 5, 2019