Beto O'Rourke: Donald Trump Is A White Nationalist, Encouraging Violence

|

Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, blamed President Trump's rhetoric, right-wing online propaganda, and FOX News for "causing" Saturday's mass shooting at a Wal-Mart in his home town of El Paso, Texas in an interview Sunday morning on CNN. O'Rourke said President Donald Trump is encouraging racism in America, which leads to increased violence.

CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday asked O'Rourke, a former El Paso congressman: "Do you think President Trump is a white nationalist?"





"Yes. I do," O'Rourke said. "The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the President of the United States, this cannot be open for debate."

"We’ve got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we’re seeing," he said. "There’s an environment of it in the United States. We see it on Fox News, we see it on the internet, but we also see it from our commander-in-chief. He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he encourages it, 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 we’re seeing, including in my home town of El Paso yesterday."

"Let's not mince words right now. This president is encouraging greater racism and not just the racist rhetoric but the violence that so often follows. This shooter in the manifesto cites, in part, for his inspiration, the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, who cites Donald Trump as his inspiration," he said. "This anti-immigrant rhetoric -- and, again, it is not just President Trump but he's certainly, as the person in the position of greatest public trust in power, most responsible for it. This is FOX News, this is what we're seeing on the Internet, this is the toleration of intolerance and racism in this country."

BETO O'ROURKE: But something has to change. And one of the wives of one of the victims, he had been selling things to raise money for the soccer team he coaches, shot in the chest. His wife asked me, why is this happening in our country right now?

Why will this continue to happen?

How do we change this?

And, Jake, I have to tell you, in addition to universal background checks and in addition to ending the sales of weapons of war into our communities, in addition to red flag laws, we have got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we're seeing.

There is an environment of it in the United States. We see it on FOX News, we see it on the Internet. But we also see it from our commander in chief. He is encouraging this. He doesn't just tolerate it; he encourages it, 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 in my home town of El Paso yesterday.

TAPPER: I want to talk about that in a second but I do want to share this picture of you visiting with a victim named Rosemary, who you said was shot in the chest but she is doing well after surgery. We want to bring as many attention to the victims of this as much as possible.

who you said was shot in the chest but she is doing well after surgery. Obviously, we want to bring as much attention to the victims of this as much as possible. So I do want to talk about how we can stop it in one second.

But if you could tell me about that moment, meeting Rosemary.

O'ROURKE: I'd met her son on the flight back from Las Vegas. He approached me on the airplane, told me that he had just learned that his mother had been shot in the chest. His grandmother had been shot in the stomach. His great-aunt had also been shot. And he was flying back to El Paso.

And he asked if I would join him going to University Medical Center, where I met Rosemary. Both of her lungs punctured, her lungs being drained as I was talking to her. A big smile on her face, just extraordinary courage; not only was she shot but her mom and her aunt was also shot, her family around her.

These extraordinary caregivers at University Medical Center, nurses who had been working 12-14 hours already, doctors who'd been seeing multiple patients with multiple gunshot wounds, just really moved me and makes me so incredibly proud of Rosemary, her family and families all across El Paso right now, who should never have to demonstrate this kind of courage and yet, nonetheless, are doing so.

Met families who have not heard from a family member and fear the worst. Have called Del Sol Medical Center and called UMC, don't know where their mom or dad are, fear they are one of the at least 20 who are dead already.

And our resolve to ensure that this changes. And I heard that from so many people yesterday. They want this to change. This cannot be the normal for the United States of America. And I know this community is going to do everything within our power to make sure that it is not.

TAPPER: So Congressman, you wrote on Twitter and said publicly in El Paso, President Trump's racism does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.

Now the document that this terrorist in El Paso, that law enforcement is investigating whether or not he actually posted this document, which refers to Latinos comes to the country as an invasion, which, as you noted, is language that we've heard from the president of the United States.

It also says -- and I know -- you know, it is hard to make sense of any of this stuff. But it also said that he had this ideology before President Trump. He kind of anticipated it, assuming this document is real, the alleged terrorist anticipated that people would blame President Trump for it and said, I felt this way before President Trump.

O'ROURKE: I don't know the point that you're trying to make here, Jake, but it is pretty obvious to me and anyone who has listened to the president and will look at the facts that his anti-immigrant rhetoric, not just the things that I cited, but calling asylum-seekers "animals" or an "infestation."

Now you might a cockroach or termites as an infestation, something less than human. You might hear someone in the Third Reich describe given people, based on their characteristics as an infestation or subhuman.

But that is what the president of the United States is doing right now and it is not just with Mexican immigrants, conflating Congresswoman Ilhan Omar with the terrorists from 9/11, encouraging that chanting in North Carolina of "send her back."

Let's not mince words right now. This president is encouraging greater racism and not just the racist rhetoric but the violence that so often follows. This shooter in the manifesto cites, in part, for his inspiration, the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, who cites Donald Trump as his inspiration.

This anti-immigrant rhetoric -- and, again, it is not just President Trump but he's certainly, as the person in the position of greatest public trust in power, most responsible for it.

This is FOX News, this is what we're seeing on the Internet, this is the toleration of intolerance and racism in this country. This is what is causing what we're seeing here today and it will continue to happen unless we call it out and unless we change it.

Comment
Show comments Hide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives