O'Rourke to remain in El Paso, miss Iowa State Fair

O'Rourke to remain in El Paso, miss Iowa State Fair
© Getty Images

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 CornynOn The Money: NY prosecutors subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns | Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms | Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum | Trump faces dwindling leverage with China Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation 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 John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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.