EL PASO, Texas (CBS NEWS) — After a weekend of violence that devastated communities in Dayton and El Paso, former Texas Congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tore into President Trump in an emotional rant after the lawmaker traveled home to be with his community.
O’Rourke was asked by a reporter if there was anything that Mr. Trump could do now in audio captured by CNN reporter Eric Bradner.
“What do you think? You know the s**t 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**k?”
He went on, suggesting the president was promoting acts of violence like the one carried out in O’Rourke’s hometown.
“I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country. So, uhm, you know, I just-I don’t know what kind of question that is.”
In a racist creed allegedly written by the suspected El Paso gunman, he expressed support for the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter, and denounced the increasing Hispanic population in Texas. Prosecutors are still deciding whether they want to pursue federal hate crime charges against the suspect.
Earlier, O’Rourke delivered an impassioned speech to members of the El Paso community that gathered for a vigil in honor of the victims of Saturday’s shooting. During the melee, a gunman shot and killed nearly 29 people, many of which were of Hispanic decent.
“There are so many right now who want to make us afraid of each other. Make us angry. Keep us apart based on our differences. … This community has born the brunt of it,” he said.
O’Rourke pressed for gun control measures including banning the sale of assault weapons, similar to the one used by both gunmen in the weekend’s shootings. He also urged support for so-called “Red Flag” laws — measures that allow courts to issue orders confiscating the guns of individuals who are deemed to be a risk to others or themselves.
“[The shooter] was from half a state away, bringing that fear, bringing that anger, bringing that hatred, and bringing that racism. And the gun,” said O’Rourke.
After his emotional exchange, the Democrat tweeted that he stood by his earlier comments, doubling down on his claims that the president “stokes racism” in the electorate.
“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,” O’Rourke tweeted.
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