A number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Monday rebuked Donald Trump for his racist and violent rhetoric that helped incite a white supremacist terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, last weekend, but the bluntest—and most personal—words came from the presidential race’s lone Latino candidate.
“The attack two days ago was an attack of a Latino community, it was an attack on immigrants, it was an attack on Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans. And that was not an accident,” former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said at a national gathering organized by advocacy group UnidosUS. “That is in part due to the climate this president has set.”
To paraphrase the novel Cold Mountain, Trump was forced to complain about the rain, but he’s the one who created the weather, with The Guardian reporting that “his own re-election campaign has characterized immigration as an ‘invasion’ in more than 2,000 Facebook ads this year.” In his hateful scrawlings, the white supremacist terrorist called his massacre “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
In truth, Castro continued, “some people like to pretend that the Latino community got here five minutes ago. But there are people here whose family was here before these were the United States of America.” Other 2020 candidates at the UnidosUS event also held the president to account for his words and the damage they’ve helped cause.
“Today I say to Donald Trump: Stop your anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “Stop the hatred. Because that language, that hatred, that divisiveness creates a situation where certain people will do terrible things.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said that “what happened in El Paso was fueled by hate.” It’s why a number of El Paso leaders, including Rep. Veronica Escobar and another Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, have called on Trump not to visit the city this week.
“From my perspective, he is not welcome here,” Escobar said. “He should not come here while we are in mourning … words have consequences. And the president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.” O’Rourke said, “This president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible, should not come to El Paso. We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here.”