Asked by a reporter on Sunday what President Donald Trump can do "to make this any better" following the mass shooting in El Paso, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke called out members of the press for failing to connect Trump's promotion of racism and violence to the deadly actions of white supremacists.
"What do you think? You know the shit he's been saying," said O'Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don't know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? Hold on a second. You know, I—it's these questions that you know the answers to."
"I mean, connect the dots about what he's doing in this country," O'Rourke continued. "He's 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."
CNN reporter Eric Bradner recorded the audio of O'Rourke's comments:
I didn’t get video, but here’s audio of the question and Beto O’Rourke’s answer. This came after an emotional vigil in El Paso, as O’Rourke circled behind a building looking for his wife. pic.twitter.com/VBk8xoE1lz
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) August 5, 2019
O'Rourke, who represented El Paso as a member of Congress, told reporters shortly following the massacre that left 20 people dead on Saturday that Trump "is a racist and he stokes racism in this country."
"And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence," said O'Rourke. "Again, there are still details that we are waiting on, but I'm just following the lead that I've heard from the El Paso police department where they say there are strong indications that this shooter wrote that manifesto and this was inspired by his hatred of people here in this community."