(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)
President Donald Trump slammed 2020 Democratic candidate and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke late Tuesday, just hours before the commander-in-chief was set to arrive in the grieving border city, where a mass shooting left nearly two dozen dead just days ago.
“Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!” Trump tweeted late Tuesday night.
The Democratic presidential candidate, whose full name is Robert Francis O’Rourke, goes by ‘Beto,’ a childhood nickname. In his tweet Trump appeared to reference competing rallies he and O’Rourke held in February in El Paso. Trump’s El Paso rally drew thousands, but O’Rourke’s counter-rally also drew thousands.
O’Rourke hit back at Trump about an hour after his post, tweeting that “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism.”
“El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I,” he wrote.
O’Rourke, who was born and raised in El Paso and represented the area in Congress for six years, has fiercely criticized Trump in recent days, saying that his harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric has helped embolden violence by racists. Trump is scheduled to visit El Paso later Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect in the El Paso attack — identified by police as a 21-year-old white man from the Dallas area — posted a diatribe against immigrants in Texas, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News. He also pushed talking points about preserving European identity in America.
“We have a president right now who traffics in this hatred, who incites this violence, who calls Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, calls asylum seekers animals and an infestation,” O’Rourke said Sunday at a vigil for the victims.
Hours before Trump’s tweet, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that Trump’s visit would be “about honoring victims, comforting communities, and thanking first responders & medical professionals for their heroic actions.”