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2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that President Trump's "bizarre behavior," including his retweet of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein's death, is a distraction for the American people who want to see real solutions on gun violence and white nationalism.

TAPPER: "I do want to get your reaction to the president retweeting this unhinged conspiracy theory, without any evidence, linking [Jeffrey] Epstein's death by apparent suicide to a murder by the Clintons. What was your reaction when you saw the tweets?"
O'ROURKE: "This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories. And also to try to force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behavior instead of the fact that we just lost 22 people in this community, 9 people in Dayton, Ohio. We're seeing an epidemic of gun violence every single day in this country. ... He's changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part."

The big picture: This week, while visiting the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump unleashed Twitter attacks and tirades against a wide array of people and topics. Targets included...

  • Google
  • California
  • Beto O'Rourke
  • The New York Times
  • Joe Biden
  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
  • Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro
  • Hollywood
  • Bill Maher
  • Anthony Scaramucci

Dozens of Democrats have called on the administration to take real action against gun violence by reconvening the Senate to vote on 2 House-passed background check bills. O'Rourke, who suspended his campaign after the shooting in his hometown, has said he would consider mandatory gun buyback programs or gun licenses if elected president.

  • O'Rourke also called attention to a CNN report this week that claimed the White house has rebuffed efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to make "combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority."
  • "[Trump] has ignored them, or willfully suppressed action on those ideas and those programs and those policies that could have saved lives in El Paso and across the country," O'Rourke said.

Go deeper: Gun violence became the No. 1 topic of conversation online last week

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.

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