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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'RourkeCalls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas Texas Dems highlight health care in fight to flip state House Union leader vows 'infrequent' minority voters will help deliver Biden victory 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 BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Ocasio-Cortez rolls out Twitch channel to urge voting Calls grow for Democrats to ramp up spending in Texas MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Democratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama to campaign for Biden in Florida Biden appears on Brené Brown's podcast to discuss 'empathy, unity and courage' The Hill's Campaign Report: Obama to hit the campaign trail l Biden's eye-popping cash advantage l New battleground polls favor Biden 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.