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'RourkeVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection Trump mocks Booker over suspended presidential campaign 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 BidenPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' GOP senator airs anti-Biden ad in Iowa amid impeachment trial Biden photobombs live national news broadcast at one of his rallies MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders allies in new uproar over DNC convention appointments Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' 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.