O'Rourke to take part in event countering Trump visit to El Paso

O'Rourke to take part in event countering Trump visit to El Paso
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeTexas Republican criticizes Cruz for Cancun trip: 'When a crisis hits my state, I'm there' Progressives target 'Cancun Cruz' in ad to run on 147 Texas radio stations 'Get off TV': Critics blast Abbott over handling of Texas power outages following winter storm MORE (D-Texas), a 2020 presidential contender, announced on Tuesday he will take part in an event in El Paso, Texas, that will honor the victims of a recent mass shooting and "confront President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE and white supremacy."

"Thank you for your leadership, @RepEscobar. When President Trump comes to El Paso tomorrow, I will be joining our strong, beautiful, binational community at #ElPasoStrong. I hope to see you there," O'Rourke tweeted in response to Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarEl Paso shooting survivor deported to Mexico after traffic stop House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics MORE (D-Texas), who first said she would be attending the event.


The "community action," which will take place around the same time Trump pays a visit to the city on Wednesday in tribute to the victims of a recent mass shooting at a Walmart, is hosted by several progressive and pro-immigrant groups, including the Border Network for Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Mexicanos en el exilio. Its Facebook page reads in part, "President Trump is not welcome in El Paso and his narrative around immigrants and Central Americans should not be welcome anywhere."

Escobar earlier on Tuesday tweeted that she had been invited by the White House to join Trump during his visit, but that she declined because he wouldn't speak with her over the phone. 

O'Rourke, who first rose to national prominence last year when he mounted an unexpectedly competitive Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Law enforcement officials blame Pentagon 'reluctance' to deploy National Guard in first hearing on Capitol attack | Watchdog report finds Pentagon didn't fully evaluate border deployment requests | Biden's UN ambassador confirmed Top cops deflect blame over Capitol attack Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack MORE (R), has seen his star wane in recent months, with his numbers stalling in the polls and his debate performances drawing little attention. 

But the former Texas congressman, who hails from El Paso, had a breakout moment on Sunday following the deadly shooting, after he went off on the press when asked by a reporter what Trump could do to prevent more mass shootings.

"What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying," O'Rourke told reporters. "He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f---?"

The comments, which earned him praise from liberals after going viral, came shortly after at least 22 people were killed in an El Paso Walmart on Saturday by a gunman who told authorities he had wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible. Within 24 hours, the mass shooting was followed by another one in Dayton, Ohio. 

Journalists, pundits and Democratic presidential candidates were quick to draw a link between the shootings and Trump, who over the past several weeks has stoked racial divisions with a string of caustic remarks directed at Democratic lawmakers of color.

Since his comments to reporters over the weekend, O'Rourke has weighed in repeatedly on Trump's response to the shootings, going so far as to link the Trump administration to the Third Reich.

His campaign said O'Rourke will also participate in a "Morning of Remembrance" with high school students on Wednesday morning, and a memorial for the victims of the shooting later that night.

Trump on Wednesday is also planning to visit Dayton.