White House 2020 hopeful and former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) is visiting Mexico on Thursday, where he will attend a funeral in Juárez for a victim of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and meet with officials.
The O’Rourke campaign said the former lawmaker will sit down with Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral Jurado and Ciudad Juárez Mayor Armando Cabada to discuss the “binational relationship of El Paso and Juárez and the shared strength of this community.” O’Rourke will stay in El Paso over the coming days and has canceled plans to attend the Iowa State Fair, a must-visit event for presidential candidates. He traveled to Juarez in June to meet with asylum seekers at a shelter with immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
O’Rourke has remained in El Paso, his hometown and former district, since Saturday’s shooting that killed 22 people after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart. Texas prosecutors have charged the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, with capital murder. He is believed to have posted a manifesto online railing against Hispanic immigrants.
Shortly after the shooting, O’Rourke left to the campaign trail to be in El Paso, where he repeatedly blamed President Trump for the massacre.
“He is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country. And it does not just offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country, and it leads to violence,” he told reporters Saturday. “And 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.”
O’Rourke not only attempted to tie the president to the shooting, but urged him repeatedly not to visit El Paso to console the victims’ families.
“I would prefer the president not come to El Paso. This is not just my preference. I’ve been listening to people. Importantly, I’ve been listening to the victims and their families,” O’Rourke said Tuesday. His comments come one day after taking to social media urgingPresident Trump to stay out of El Paso, arguing “he has no place here.”
Nonetheless, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the victims of the El Paso on Wednesday.
After meeting victims at the hospital, President Trump visited first responders and other law enforcement.
“They have done an incredible job, both places, just incredible,” the president said of the police.
“All over the world, they’re talking about the job you’ve done,” he added.
After a so-called “counter-rally” Wednesday in El Paso, O’Rourke (D-TX) accused President Trump of being a “white supremacist” and said he inspired “terrorism” in the city.
“This terrorism that was in part inspired by President Trump in his warnings of invasions and infestations, his demonization of this community, immigrants as rapists and criminals—there’s a very real consequence,” he said. “It doesn’t just offend us. It hurts us and kills us. This community is coming together, focusing on one another, wishing the president would not come but focused on El Paso.”