After The Shooting In El Paso, Beto O’Rourke Calls On Media To Call Out Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric
Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is arguably taking the strongest stand against Trump’s blatant racism out of any other Democratic candidate. O’Rourke is a third-generation El Pasoan, with roots deep in the El Paso community. In the wake of a mass shooting perpetrated by someone who espoused white supremacy talking point, O’Rourke is holding Trumps’ feet to the fire.
While O’Rourke has been calling Trump a racist and a white nationalist for several years now, this week he called Trump “the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.” He not only called Trump a white supremacist but tweeted, “You cannot leave it up to me. Members of the press: You too have to call him out for being the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.”
The President of the United States took to Twitter to mock the Latino influence El Paso has had on O’Rourke.
O’Rourke is pure Irish-American, but he grew up in El Paso, a border community that is majority Latino. Growing up, friends gave him the nickname “Beto,” short for Robert, and it stuck. Just three days after the deadliest attack on Latinos since the Mexican-American War, Trump decided to attack O’Rourke.
O’Rourke took to Twitter to let the president know that he believes that Trump’s racist dog-whistles led to the attack.
O’Rourke makes no claim to be Latino, but he has represented Latinos in his career as a public servant to El Paso. The shooter idolized Trump on his social media accounts and used much of the same rhetoric in the white supremacist manifesto he posted online. Like Trump, he used words like ‘invasion,’ ‘animals,’ and ‘infestation.’
In an interview with CNN, O’Rourke called on media to “call him out for being the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.”
After CNN asked him to comment on Trump’s condemnation of white supremacy, O’Rourke responded by saying, “This is the same man who called white nationals and klansman and Neo nazis ‘very fine people.’ This is the most racist president we’ve had since perhaps Andrew Johnson, in another age, in another century. He is responsible for the hatred and the violence that we see right now. You cannot leave that just to me to say that. It’s gotta be you.”
O’Rourke is so frustrated with reporters skirting around bigger questions that he actually responded with “I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f*ck?”
On Sunday, a reporter asked O’Rourke if there’s anything President Trump could do to “make this any better” and O’Rourke lost it, and reasonably so.
“What do you think? You know the sh*t he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f*ck? Hold on a second. You know, I — it’s these questions that you know the answers to,” he put bluntly.
“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,” he fumed. “So, you know, I just — I don’t know what kind of question that is.”
This political moment is offering folks a sense of relief and hope.
Relief that someone is holding Trump to task. Hope that someone will do more than simply respond to his racism diplomatically.
O’Rourke is in El Paso offering his personal cell phone number to survivors of the shooting.
In a touching moment, we see O’Rourke asking survivor Sean Nixon, 20, if he’s been able to get some professional counseling or a therapist. “Talk to me,” O’Rourke tells a grief-stricken Nixon.
“It’s too much. El Paso was great. I don’t know why this dude was doing this to us,” Nixon cries out while weeping.
O’Rourke gave him his personal cell phone number and a promise to connect him with therapists, and anything else he might need.
O’Rourke gives him a long hug and tells him, “I’m with you. I’m with you. This is my cell phone. It goes directly to me. There have been a number of people who have reached out to me–counselors, therapists who want to be helpful. If that additional help would be good for you, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.”