WASHINGTON - Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, slammed the media for what he saw as a failure to "connect the dots" between President Donald Trump's rhetoric and the El Paso, Texas, mass shooting that took the lives of at least 20 people and is being investigated as a potential hate crime.
O'Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate, represented El Paso in the House of Representatives from January 2013 to January 2019. He had been speaking at a vigil for victims of the shooting when he was asked what he thought Trump could do to make things better.
The question seemed to strike a nerve with O'Rourke.
"What do you think? You know the sh-- he's been saying. He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals," O'Rourke said in a video posted by Sky News. "I don't know, like, members of the press, what the f---?"
O'Rourke continued by telling the media to "connect the dots" between Trump and the violence.
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"He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country."
O'Rourke posted on Twitter about his remarks later Sunday, writing that he stood by his remarks from earlier.
"We shouldn't be asking if there's anything he can do or if he's responsible for this when we know the answer. I stand by what I said," wrote O'Rourke.
Earlier on Sunday, O'Rourke had directly linked Trump's rhetoric on ethnic minorities and immigrants to the violence.
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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."
Contributing: Louie Villalobos
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: El Paso shooting: Beto O'Rourke says Trump is 'inciting violence'