Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Saturday night that President Donald Trump's rhetoric on race played a role in the mass shooting that killed at least 20 people in El Paso.
O'Rourke, who is running to be the Democratic presidential nominee, spoke about the shooting minutes after spending time with victims in his hometown.
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."
O'Rourke's comments came hours after a mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart left 20 people dead and 26 injured and before a shooting spree early Sunday at an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio left at least nine dead and 16 hurt.
The El Paso shooting could be prosecuted as a hate crime after investigators discovered an anti-immigrant diatribe possibly connected to the suspect.
"Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates a possible hate crime," El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at a Saturday press conference.
Trump, who has tweeted several words of condolences and support to the victims of the shootings and residents of the cities, recently said he is the "least racist person" in the world.
God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
The FBI, local and state law enforcement are working together in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio. Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already be learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances. Updates will be given throughout the day!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019