Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said President Trump is somewhat responsible after a 21-year-old gunman killed at least 20 people in El Paso, Texas.
O’Rourke, who once served as the mayor of El Paso and later represented the area in Congress, said Trump’s critical comments about Mexico and immigration were motivating factors for the shooter. The shooter did share his ideology behind his attacks in a manifesto, but the shooter said any connection to Trump was “fake news.”
“Yes. We’ve had a rise in hate crimes every single one of the last three years,” O’Rourke said per BizPac Review. “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 Democratic presidential candidate 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
The Hill reports:
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.
Law enforcement apprehended the El Paso shooter reportedly without firing a single shot and is still investigating the situation. Less than 24 hours after the tragic shooting, another lone gunman in Dayton, Ohio killed at least ten people.
A gunman killed at least 20 people and wounded 26 others at a packed shopping area in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference. Most died at a Walmart store, where up to 3,000 shoppers and 100 employees were present, police said.
Here’s more from the Associated Press:
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said police were investigating whether a document posted online shortly before the shooting was written by Crusius. In it, the writer expresses concern that an influx of Hispanics into the United States will replace aging white voters, potentially turning Texas blue in upcoming elections and swinging the White House to the Democrats.
The writer also is critical of Republicans for what he described as close ties to corporations and degradation of the environment. Though a Twitter account that appears to belong to Crusius included pro-Trump posts praising the plan to build more border wall, the writer of the online document says his views on race predated Trump’s campaign and that any attempt to blame the president for his actions was “fake news.”
Though the writer denied he was a white supremacist, the document says “race mixing” is destroying the nation and recommends dividing the United States into territorial enclaves determined by race. The first sentence of the four-page document expresses support for the man accused of killing 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in March after posting his own screed with a conspiracy theory about nonwhite migrants replacing whites.