The night before his visit to El Paso, Texas, days after a domestic terrorist opened fire inside a local Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more, President Trump unleashed an ugly Twitter attacking mocking Beto O’Rourke’s Hispanic nickname. The alleged shooter told law enforcement he wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible and also wrote a “manifesto” filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric echoing the president’s own anti-immigrant attacks.
Just minutes before midnight, Trump sent a tweet attacking the 2020 presidential candidate, saying, “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed polling at 1% in the Democratic Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!”
Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2019
O’Rourke’s birth name is Robert, but he was nicknamed “Beto” as a child by his parents since he has the same name as his grandfather, reports ABC News.
Trump repeatedly mocked O’Rourke’s nickname last year during his Senate contest against Ted Cruz.
Trump, while campaigning for Cruz in October 2018, called O’Rourke a “stone-cold phony named Robert Francis O’Rourke.”
O’Rourke quickly fired back at Trump’s tweet, saying, “22 people are dead in my hometown after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I.”
22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I. https://t.co/dakFPKj0vJ
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 7, 2019
Trump’s tweet comes just hours before he visits the city still reeling from Saturday’s mass shooting.
O’Rourke has blamed Trump for the shooter’s actions.
When asked by CNN whether the president could “make this any better,” O’Rourke responded, “You know the s— he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”
Just one day earlier, the president told the nation in a televised speech, “Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside — so destructive — and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar, who replaced O’Rourke as congresswoman in the district, has said she will not participate in Trump’s visit.
Escobar tweeted, “I have publicly said he has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us. I asked for a call so I could say this to him over the phone and ask for a dialogue that could lead to healing. I was told that @realDonaldTrump is ‘too busy’ to have that conversation.”
I was told that @realDonaldTrump is “too busy” to have that conversation.
I declined the invitation because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit. I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words & actions have caused our community and country.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) August 6, 2019