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.
Images from global climate strikes show city streets packed with millions of people
This Friday, millions of people around the world are skipping school and work to demand action on climate change. According to reports, "global climate strikes" are currently taking place in over 150 countries, all designed to take place ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the Climate Action Summit this coming Monday.
Images coming out of New York City alone show the massive scale of the protests. Tweeting from the NYC march, climate activist Greta Thunberg said that "lower Manhattan is absolutely packed with people."
WATCH: Barbara McQuade explains how she jailed mayor of Detroit — for same thing Trump did
On Thursday, it was revealed that a whistleblower in the intelligence community has submitted a complaint about President Donald Trump's conduct with a foreign leader.
There was widespread speculation Friday on the nature of the complaint, but experts suspect it has to do with the president trying to extract opposition research on Joe Biden from the president of Ukraine. Recently, Trump's lawyer and friend Rudy Giulani traveled to the country to unearth dirt on Biden's son.
And experts are concerned that Trump promised the foreign leader a better relationship with the U.S. in exchange.
‘Mr. President, we’ll see you in court’: 23 states join California in suing Trump administration
California and 23 other states on Friday sued the Trump administration over its bid to restrict their authority to limit auto emissions, setting the stage for a bitter court battle over states' rights and climate change.
The lawsuit is in response to President Donald Trump's announcement this week that his administration was revoking a waiver accorded to California over the past 50 years to set its own vehicle emissions standards which are tougher than those imposed by the federal government.
The waiver over the years has helped the state -- which has some of the most polluted cities in the country -- to improve its air quality and become a model for battling climate change.