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Trump Goes After El Paso Native Beto O’Rourke in Bizarre Tweet

The president attacked the former congressman, making a debunked claim that he changed his first name to ingratiate himself with Hispanics in Texas

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the White House prior to his departure to El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where recent shootings in those cities occurred

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On the eve of his visit to memorials in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, and hours before he would declare his rhetoric “brings people together,” President Trump went on Twitter to attack Democratic candidate and El Paso-area native Beto O’Rourke.

O’Rourke, has for days been criticizing Trump for white nationalist rhetoric the candidate says has helped inspire the type of violence that killed nearly two dozen people in Texas on Saturday.

On Tuesday night, Trump criticized O’Rourke with a debunked claim the Democrat changed his first name to ingratiate himself with Hispanic voters and by noting his low polling numbers in the Democratic primary.

“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!” the president tweeted.

O’Rourke responded on Twitter by pointing out how close the tragedy hits home for him personally and the president’s racism, writing, “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.”

Trump, who never looks past a personal slight to focus on the bigger duties of his office, did not respond to O’Rourke’s substantive point: that the president’s racist rhetoric incites white nationalist violence. Instead, Trump opted for personal taunts against a congressman whose hometown had just been visited by a mass-killer. And on Wednesday morning, Trump couldn’t single out white nationalist violence without a string of equivocations or identify anything specific he might do to address it.

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