Former congressman Beto O’Rourke has described Donald Trump’s rhetoric on race and immigration as having played a part in the El Paso mass shooting.
O’Rourke, who previously represented El Paso in the House of Representatives, has said xenophobic and racist remarks made by President Trump have given ‘people permission’ to carry out acts of national terrorism.
The Democratic politician has also agreed with the description of President Trump as a white nationalist, condemning him as an ‘open avowed racist’ who is ‘encouraging more racism in this country’.
Speaking with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, O’Rourke said:
We have 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 — we see it on the internet and we see it from our commander-in-chief. He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he encourages it, calling immigrants rapists and criminals and seeking to ban all people of one religion.
Tapper then pointed out how the alleged gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius had apparently harboured white supremacist views prior to the election of President Trump, as outlined in an alleged manifesto.
However, O’Rourke argued it was ‘pretty obvious’ the language used by President Trump has had a role in ‘encouraging greater racism’:
This is the toleration of intolerance and racism in this country, and this is what we’re seeing here today and it will continue to happen unless we call it out and unless we change it […]
You don’t get mass shootings like these, you don’t torch mosques, or put kids in cages until you have a president who is giving people permission to do that and that is exactly what is happening in the United States of America today.
El Paso is a community that shows up for one another—on our best days and our worst. I met Rosemary’s family on the plane back to El Paso. They asked that we visit her and share her story. She was shot in the chest but is doing well after surgery. She’s strong—just like our city. pic.twitter.com/qjy4ecJOCw
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 4, 2019
Prior to the mass shooting, an anti-immigrant manifesto emerged online, which spoke of the attack being a response to a ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas’.
As reported by The New York Times, the 2,300-word document detailed plans to separate Americans into separate territories, according to their race.
The writer of the manifesto stated:
My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president.
As reported by NBC News, investigators are ‘reasonably confident’ the manifesto was written by Crusius.
Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
Our thoughts are with all those who been affected by El Paso, Texas.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.