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Beto O'Rourke slams media for its handling of mass shooting coverage, says Trump is 'inciting violence'

  • August 05, 2019

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U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio.
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WASHINGTON – Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, slammed the media for what he saw as a failure to “connect the dots” between President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the El Paso, Texas, mass shooting that took the lives of at least 20 people and is being investigated as a potential hate crime. 

O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate, represented El Paso in the House of Representatives from January 2013 to January 2019. He had been speaking at a vigil for victims of the shooting when he was asked what he thought Trump could do to make things better. 

The question seemed to strike a nerve with O’Rourke. 

“What do you think? You know the sh– he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals,” O’Rourke said in a video posted by Sky News. “I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f—?”

O’Rourke continued by telling the media to “connect the dots” between Trump and the violence. 

More: El Paso, Dayton make 251 mass shootings in the US in 216 days, more shootings than days in the year

More: Who is the El Paso shooter? Investigators search for links, motive in anti-immigrant screed

More: Several 2020 Democrats say President Trump deserves some blame for El Paso, Ohio shootings

“He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.” 

O’Rourke posted on Twitter about his remarks later Sunday, writing that he stood by his remarks from earlier. 

“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,” wrote O’Rourke.

Earlier on Sunday, O’Rourke had directly linked Trump’s rhetoric on ethnic minorities and immigrants to the violence. 

More: ‘He’s a racist’: Beto O’Rourke says President Trump is partly to blame for El Paso mass shooting

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While speaking to the media, he ran through examples of Trump making comments attacking people of color, including the ‘go back’ tweets aimed at Democratic freshmen female lawmakers who are all U.S. citizens and people of color. 

“He is a racist and he stokes racism in this country,” O’Rourke said. “It fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

When asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning if he thought Washington Governor Jay Inslee was correct in calling Trump a “white nationalist,” O’Rourke replied, “Yes, I do.”

Contributing: Louie Villalobos 

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  • People arrive at MacArthur Elementary looking for family and friends as the school is being used a re-unification center during the aftermath of a shooting at the Walmart in the Cielo Vista Mall area Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.1 of 25
  • People arrive at MacArthur Elementary looking for family and friends as the school is being used a re-unification center during the aftermath of a shooting at the Walmart in the Cielo Vista Mall area Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.2 of 25
  • Walmart employees comfort one another after an active shooter opened fire at the Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Tx. on Saturday, August 3, 2019.  3 of 25
  • Police interview witnesses to the shooting near Cielo Vista Mall on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in El Paso, Tx.4 of 25
  • Department of Homeland Security police are shown at the scene of the shooting at Walmart in the Cielo Vista Mall area Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in El Paso, Tx.5 of 25
  • An El Paso police officer lifts the tape barrier at the shooting scene at the Walmart in the Cielo Vista area on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in El Paso, Tx.6 of 25
  • Police interview witnesses to the shooting near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Tx. on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.7 of 25
  • Kendall Long, left, comforts Kianna Long who was in the freezer section of a Walmart during a shooting incident, in El Paso, Tx. on Aug. 3, 2019. Reports state that at least 10 people have been killed and 30 are injured. Police say that one male suspect is in custody.8 of 25
  • Several law enforcement agencies respond to an active shooter Saturday at the Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso.  9 of 25
  • Anabel Hebben comforts her daughter, Leilani, 11, after leaving flowers at the Walmart shooting scene in El Paso on Aug.4, 2019. 10 of 25
  • Texas State Troopers block a road leading to the Walmart shooting scene in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 11 of 25
  • Daniella Novoa holds her son Richard, 10-months, after placing flowers and a poster outside Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 12 of 25
  • Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke shakes hands with shooting survivor Carlos Santos near the Walmart shooting scene in El Paso on Aug. 3, 2019. Santos was in the checkout line with his father when gunfire erupted. 13 of 25
  • Shooting survivor Virginia Chacon talks with Texas Highway Patrol trooper Gilbert Flores outside the Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 3, 2019. Chacon was inside the store when gunfire broke out and escape by running.14 of 25
  • Friends, family members, and strangers on Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas at MacArthur School Elementary-Intermediate School. A family reunification site was set up at MacArthur School for friends and families missing loved ones after the shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart. Red Cross official Colin Williams said approximately 25 people stayed overnight. 15 of 25
  • Friends, family members, and strangers on Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas at MacArthur School Elementary-Intermediate School. A family reunification site was set up at MacArthur School for friends and families missing loved ones after the shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.16 of 25
  • People hug outside of MacArthur School Elementary-Intermediate School on Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A family reunification site has been designated at the site for friends and families missing loved ones after the shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.17 of 25
  • Phlebotomist Yaranely Armendariz draws blood from Sarah Bolanos on Aug., 4, 2019, at the United Blood Services in east El Paso, Texas. The response for blood has been so high theyve had to turn away donors and make appointments for a later date. 18 of 25
  • Felipe Avila mourns outside Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 19 of 25
  • Gael Banderas, 7, arranges rocks on signs at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 20 of 25
  • Gilbert Medina comforts his daughter Gabby and son Sebastian at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 21 of 25
  • Two women hug on Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas at MacArthur School Elementary-Intermediate School. A family reunification site was set up at MacArthur School for friends and families missing loved ones after the shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.22 of 25
  • August 4, 2019; El Paso, TX, USA; Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) speaks to the media before a march at Houston Park in El Paso August 4, 2019. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in a mass shooting at Walmart on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID:  20190804_ajw_usa_080.jpg23 of 25
  • Lyda Ness hugs Freddy Klayel-Avalos before starting a march at Houston Park in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 24 of 25
  • A man holds a sign directed at President Trump before a march at Houston Park in El Paso on Aug. 4, 2019. 25 of 25

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