Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) avoided opining on whether or not he believes that the Americans who decide to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election are themselves racist.
“I think it’s really hard,” O’Rourke responded to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday when confronted with the question.
The presidential hopeful quickly pivoted to argue why he believes President Trump is racist, an assertion that he has repeatedly made since launching his bid for the presidency, but ramped up in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“Yes,” O’Rourke said. “Donald Trump is dangerous to the future of America and will destroy what makes us so unique and so special, and the genius that we represent to ourselves and to the rest of the world.”
“So, I appeal to my fellow Americans to choose a candidate who will bring this very divided and highly polarized country together, who will work on the issues before us – whether it is health care or an economy that includes everyone or immigration or confronting climate before it is too late,” he continued. “And doing it in a way that speaks to the best of us, that is ambitious, that is not fearful of the future and does not try to divide us on our differences.”
“That’s exactly what Donald Trump is doing right now,” O’Rourke added.
Just hours after the first shooting spree in El Paso, O’Rourke appeared on multiple news programs accusing the president of being a racist and inciting violence against minorities. He further contended that the president is a white supremacist who seeks to dehumanize the people who do not look like, or pray like, or love like the majority of the country.
O’Rourke has also made multiple comparisons between the president and Nazis. In late July, he likened Trump’s campaign rally to a “Nuremburg rally” and, weeks later, he argued that Trump’s rhetoric is similar to someone in Nazi Germany’s Third Reich.
The former congressman also falsely claimed to Tapper on Sunday that the president has described “white nationalists, and [Ku Klux] Klansmen, and neo-Nazis” as “very fine people.”
The distorted statement was in reference to a press conference that the president gave in August 2017 while condemning a group of white supremacists at a white pride rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally was in protest of the removal of a confederate General Robert E. Lee statue, and members associated with the Left-wing group Antifa showed up to counter-protest.
During the press conference, Trump fiercely condemned the neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists, but also contended that there was a third group that had “very fine people, on both sides.” This third group consisted of individuals who either wanted the statue dismantled or to remain in place, and came simply to the event to protest, rather than participate in a white pride rally.
Tapper, who has acknowledged in the past that Trump never referred to neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “fine people” did not push back on O’Rourke’s false claim.