Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature
O'Rourke calls Trump event 'almost an impromptu Nuremberg rally' after 'send her back' chants
Democratic 2020 White House hopeful Beto O'Rourke is blasting President Trump for his record on racial issues, comparing Trump's campaign rally in North Carolina last week to a Nazi event.
"President Trump is a racist. What we saw in North Carolina last week was almost an impromptu Nuremberg rally, inciting hatred, and ultimately, I think, implicit in that is violence against people based on the color of their skin, based on their religion, based on their difference from the majority of Americans," the former Texas congressman said in a Monday interview with ABC News on Ellis Island, referring to the crowd at the rally chanting "send her back" as Trump attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn).
He also called out Trump for saying Mexico sends rapists, drugs and crime into the United States during his 2015 campaign launch and for saying there were "very fine people on both sides" at the 2017 far-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., during which one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and dozens more were injured.
"It is in keeping with the president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, who describes asylum-seekers as animals or an infestation, who says that Klansmen are very fine people. It's very clear the path that he is taking us on," O'Rourke said.
The former congressman also said there will be consequences for lawmakers who do not not stand up against Trump's comments.
Last week, Trump tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of color should "go back" to the "totally broken and crime infested places" they came from. The House voted to condemn Trump's tweet as racist, though most Republicans opposed the measure.
"Silence, especially from members of Congress, who hold a position of public trust and power, silence is complicity in what the president is doing, and there will be an accounting. There will be a reckoning. There will be justice for this," O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke, who revealed last week that he is descended from slave owners, compared his hometown of El Paso to Ellis Island, both ports of entry for immigrant communities. The presidential candidate denounced being made to choose between providing for American citizens and welcoming migrants as "a false choice."
"This is one of the best parts of the American story, and it makes me so proud to be here to see the pictures and to know our history, that we welcome millions of people from around the world to come here so that they can do better for themselves, do better for their families, but also because they knew we were going to do better for us," O'Rourke said.