Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) will remain in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, in the wake of a Saturday mass shooting, missing the Iowa State Fair, a frequent destination for presidential hopefuls, according to CNN.
O’Rourke told the network he has not yet made a decision on when he will return to the campaign trail, which he left to return to Texas over the weekend after a gunman killed at least 22 people in an El Paso Walmart.
The former congressman will also miss the Wing Ding dinner, a frequent stop in the Hawkeye State for state party officials, according to CNN.
O’Rourke also demurred on whether he would challenge Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBipartisan lawmakers target judges' stock trading with new bill Cornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? MORE (R-Texas) for his seat in 2020 if he bows out of the presidential race.
"No part of me right now is thinking about politics, is thinking about any campaign or election. All of me is with and thinking about this community," he told CNN.
In a statement to reporters, O’Rourke campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon chided reporters for speculating about another Senate run while hitting President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE over his rhetoric, which O'Rourke has pointed to as inspiration for the El Paso shooter.
“It is unconscionable that political reporters remain more focused on the horse race rather than a community in crisis. Beto is staying in El Paso to support his hometown that was the target of a terrorist attack, inspired by the words of Donald Trump,” she said.
O’Rourke has repeatedly drawn a line between Trump’s talk on immigration and the suspect in the shooting, who has been tied to a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto that speaks of a Hispanic “invasion.”
"He's trying to intimidate this community, to make us afraid of the border, of immigrants," O'Rourke told reporters Wednesday morning, according to CNN. O’Rourke has repeatedly said Trump is not welcome in the city, which the president is scheduled to visit today after a stop in Dayton, Ohio, the site of another shooting.