2020 presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro and Kamala Harris each suggested Thursday at the Democratic debates that President Donald Trump inspired the El Paso shooter.
O’Rourke said in his opening remarks at the debate hosted by ABC News that the El Paso shooting caused two things to become “crystal clear” to him and “produced a turning point for this country.”
“The first is just how dangerous Donald Trump is,” O’Rourke said. “The cost and the consequence of his presidency.” (RELATED: 20 People Dead After El Paso Shooting, Governor Says)
“A racism and violence that had long been apart of America was welcomed out into the open and directed to my hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed, dozens more injured by a man carrying a weapon he should never have been able to buy in the first place, inspired to kill by our president,” O’Rourke said.
But the El Paso shooter specifically said that he was not inspired by Trump.
“My ideology has not changed for several years,” 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius wrote in his manifesto. “My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president. I putting this here because some people will blame the President or certain presidential candidates for the attack.”
Presidential candidate Julian Castro also said during the debate that the shooter was inspired by Trump, saying Thursday, “I want to commend Beto for how well he has spoken to the passion and the frustration and the sadness after what happened in his hometown of El Paso. He’s done a great job with that.”
“Look, a few weeks ago, a shooter drove 10 hours inspired by this president to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family,” Castro added. “White supremacy is a growing threat to this country, and we have to root it out.”
Democratic New York Sen. Kamala Harris also suggested that Trump was responsible for what happened in the El Paso shootings.
“People asked me in El Paso, they said, you know, because I have a long-standing record on this issue. They said, do you think Trump is responsible for what happened?”
“And I said, well, look,” Harris said. “Obviously he didn’t pull the trigger, but he certainly been tweeting out the ammunition.”
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