Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke blasted President Donald Trump's racism for leading to violence.
O'Rourke, who had represented El Paso in Congress, left the campaign trail on Saturday to return to his hometown following the massacre.
"Sir, regarding the manifesto and everything that was in it, fears about Hispanic immigration, all that, does any of this fall at the feet of President Donald Trump and his rhetoric that’s been growing turnover last couple weeks and his alleged racist Tweets and other rhetoric?" a reporter asked.
"Yes," O'Rourke replied.
"We’ve had a rise in hate crimes every single one of the last three years during an administration where you have a president who’s called Mexican rapists and criminals, though Mexicans immigrants commit crimes at far lower rate than those born in this country.
He listed multiple instances of Trump's racism.
"He is a racist and he stokes racism in this country," O'Rourke declared. "And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence."
"Again, there are still details that we are waiting on, but I’m just following the lead that I’ve heard from the El Paso police department where they say there are strong indications that this shooter wrote that manifesto and this was inspired by his hatred of people here in this community," he concluded.
"Folks, this did not happen by accident. We cannot pretend this is our future, our fate, our fortune. This is owed to the rhetoric used by someone to gain political gain, to make us afraid," he added.