- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 4, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Sunday said President Trump encourages the kind of racism that is contributing to violence like Saturday’s mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, that left 20 people dead.

“We’ve got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we’re seeing,” Mr. O’Rourke said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There’s an environment of it in the United States. We see it on Fox News. We see it on the internet.”

“But we also see it from our commander-in-chief, and he is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it; he encourages it,” he said.

Mr. O’Rourke pointed to Mr. Trump’s statements likening Mexicans to rapists and murderers and warning of an invasion at the U.S. border.

“Let’s not mince words right now: This president is encouraging greater racism, and not just the racist rhetoric but the violence that so often follows,” said Mr. O’Rourke, a former congressman.

Authorities are investigating whether a manifesto posted online shortly before the shooting at a shopping center was written by alleged gunman Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas.

Mr. O’Rourke said the manifesto’s author cited the shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, “who cites Donald Trump as his inspiration.”

“It is not just President Trump, but he is certainly, as the person in the position of greatest public trust [and] power, most responsible for it,” he said.

Mr. O’Rourke said there is a problem with “white nationalist terrorism” in the country.

“These are white men motivated by the kind of fear that this president traffics in,” he said.

He said he believes Mr. Trump is a white nationalist.

“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.

Appearing on a separate program, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said no politician should be blamed for such attacks.

“Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Beto O’Rourke, a former colleague of mine who I hold in high regard, is running for president, and to the extent he can make this an issue, he’s going to,” Mr. Mulvaney said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I hate to draw attention to the manifesto, but if you actually go and look at it what the guy says is that he’s felt this way a long time, before Donald Trump got elected president,” he said. “This was a sick person. The person in Dayton was a sick person. No politician is to blame for that.”

Hours after the El Paso shooting, a gunman opened fire in a nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring more than a dozen others.

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