O'Rourke tells immigrants 'this country was founded on white supremacy'

O'Rourke tells immigrants 'this country was founded on white supremacy'
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeNRA deems O'Rourke 'Salesman of the Month' after Arizona gun store sells out of AR-15s during 'Beto Special' MSNBC Climate Change Forum draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump pushes back over whistleblower controversy MORE (D-Texas) this week told a group of immigrants and refugees living in Nashville, Tenn., that the U.S. was founded on the concepts of white supremacy and slavery.

During a roundtable event hosted by a local organization that works with immigrants, the presidential candidate pointed to his home state's history in the Confederacy while arguing that the legacy of racism persists in U.S. institutions.

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"I know this from my home state, Texas, places that formed the Confederacy, that this country was founded on white supremacy," he said, according to the Tennessean. "And every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression, even in our democracy."

He made the remarks in response to a question about how he would tackle white supremacy if elected president.

O'Rourke in recent weeks has attempted to reboot his 2020 presidential campaign after his initial success in fundraising and the polls was overshadowed by front-runners like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick MSNBC Climate Change Forum draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot Iowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats MORE (D-Calif.).

During a May interview on ABC's "The View," O'Rourke appeared regretful over some aspects of his campaign launch, which featured an interview with Vanity Fair in which he said he was "born" to run despite saying throughout 2018 that he would not run for president in 2020.