Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday that he believes President Donald Trump is a white supremacist and holds him responsible for the shooting that occurred Saturday in El Paso.
O’Rourke began by linking the shooting in El Paso to a number of other recent mass shootings that have been linked either to white supremacy or to anti-immigrant sentiment, pointing out that the perpetrators had all been white and linking their motives to the president’s rhetoric. (RELATED: Trump Says He Stands With America In Condemning El Paso Shooting. Here’s How Twitter Users Responded)
“So I don’t want to confuse people about what is going on or use a hypothetical about what if this was somebody else from a different background or profile,” O’Rourke explained. “These are white men motivated by the kind of fear that this president traffics in. The mosque in Victoria, Texas, was burned to the ground on the same day that President Trump signed his order attempting to ban Muslim travel to the United States of America, when he says after Charlottesville that klansman and white supremacists and Neo-Nazis are very fine people, the commander in chief is sending a very public signal to the rest of the country about what is permissible and in fact even what he encourages to happen.”
“So let’s connect the dots here on what is happening and why it is happening and who is responsible for this right now,” O’Rourke continued, calling all Democrats, Republicans and independents to stand up against white nationalism and claiming that Trump was pushing the narrative that differences made people dangerous. “If you’re a Muslim, you’re inherently dangerous. If you are an immigrant, you are inherently dangerous. If you are an asylum-seeker, you are invading this country or an infestation, those words have very real consequences. You don’t get mass shootings like these and 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.”
Tapper pressed O’Rourke then, asking him point-blank whether he thought Trump was a white nationalist, and the former congressman’s response was unequivocal.
“Yes, I do,” he answered. “And again from some of the record that I just recited to you, 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.”