Democratic presidential hopeful and former Texas congressman Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeSupport for governors sliding in states without vaccine mandates: survey Abbott bans vaccine mandates from any 'entity in Texas' Abbott disapproval rating up 8 points to 59 percent in San Antonio area: poll MORE wrote a CNN op-ed Tuesday on the recent mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, denouncing President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE's rhetoric regarding immigrants and minority groups.
"We should not be surprised that this kind of violence eventually found our community," O'Rourke wrote, discussing the shooting earlier this month that left 22 people dead and two dozen more injured. "In today's America, it was only a matter of time."
The White House hopeful went on to condemn Trump's description of some Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and for saying they were "bringing crime" into the country, as well as the president's assertion that illegal immigrants would "infest" the U.S.
"He speaks not as America's President but as an emissary of hate," O'Rourke wrote. "And his vilification and fear-mongering connect with those who are open to receiving it."
O'Rourke called on the news media to stop "musing about whether or not the President is racist" and called on Republicans to "put country before party by holding Trump accountable."
"As long as the President employs this rhetoric, and as long as it is tolerated or ignored by so many, tragedies like these will continue to tear our country apart," he wrote, also noting Trump's past statements referring to an immigrant "invasion."
"It is on all of us, individually and through the institutions of the press and Congress, to decide what this country will stand for at this defining moment of truth," he added.
Police have investigated a manifesto in connection to the shooting that warned of a "Hispanic invasion," with critics arguing it echoed the president's rhetoric on illegal immigration.
O'Rourke, one of two dozen candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, was among a few candidates to call Trump a "white supremacist" after the shooting.