O'Rourke defends White House bid: I can meet Trump 'from a place that no one else can'

O'Rourke defends White House bid: I can meet Trump 'from a place that no one else can'
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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE, a former Texas congressman, said his El Paso roots place him in a unique position to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE, amid outside pressure for him to drop his White House bid and mount a Senate campaign.

“At a time that the president is attacking this community, this part of the world, the U.S.-Mexico border, cities of immigrants, that’s where I am,” O’Rourke said in an interview with The New York Times, published Sunday.

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“That’s where I live. That’s where we’re raising our family. I can meet him on this issue in very personal terms and from a place that no one else can.”

O'Rourke has suspended his planned campaign events since last weekend's mass shooting in El Paso, missing the Iowa State Fair where his opponents are campaigning.
 
The attack killed 22 people in O'Rourke's home city, a largely Hispanic community, amid frequent verbal attacks by Trump against immigrants from south of the border.
 
The accused shooter allegedly published a manifesto ahead of the attack calling it a "response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas." 
 
O'Rourke has repeatedly linked Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric to the attack, as has most of his primary opponents. Trump has denied that his rhetoric inspired the shooter. 
 
"I can tell, from so many people who approached us last night at the memorial and said, ‘You are speaking for us, and you are defending this community and you are connecting the dots and you are helping this country understand how this happened,’” O'Rourke told the Times.
 
“I’m sure there’s some way to quantify that, measure that." 
 
O'Rourke is one of more than two dozen Democrats seeking the nomination, but has failed to break into the top-tier of candidates. 
 
A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows O'Rourke at 2 percent, behind five other candidates. 
 
 
O'Rourke's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon chided reporters for speculating over O'Rourke switching to a senate run after the attack. 
 
"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 last week.