Democratic presidential candidate and El Paso, Texas, native Beto O’Rourke said that President Donald Trump was a white nationalist after a mass shooting in El Paso on Saturday left 20 dead and a separate rampage hours later killed nine more in Dayton, Ohio.
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 on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Democrat also referenced Trump’s record of insulting Mexicans as “rapists” and describing asylum seeking migrants as an infestation.
“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,” he said.
Early Sunday morning, a shooter opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people in the city’s Oregon District, a popular downtown area. The shooter, who has not yet been identified, was shot and killed by responding officers. Hours before on Saturday, a shooter opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, shopping center, killing at least 20 people. The shooting suspect, a 21-year-old man, is in custody.
Trump called the El Paso shooting an “act of cowardice” on Saturday and said there “are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing people.” On Sunday, the President tweeted: “God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.”
O’Rourke also argued Sunday for a shared “responsibility to call that out, to make sure that the American people understand what is being done in their name by the person who holds the highest position of public trust in this land.”
“(Trump) does not even pretend to respect our differences or to understand that we are all created equal,” O’Rourke told Tapper. “He is saying that some people are inherently defective or dangerous.”