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'RourkeO'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' Language is a weapon in political warfare — if the media play along 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 John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 EscobarBrindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees House Democrats target Latino vote in Texas Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-Texas), who first said she would be attending the event.

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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 CruzTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war 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.