Aug 7, 2019

Trump taunts Beto O'Rourke ahead of El Paso visit

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke near the scene of last weekend's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Trump mocked Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke's Hispanic nickname in a late-night tweet ahead of his visit to the former congressman's hometown of El Paso Wednesday to honor victims of the city's mass shooting.

Why it matters: ABC News notes that Trump's Twitter attack is in direct opposition to the conciliatory tone he struck when he condemned racism following Saturday's massacre, saying "Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside." O'Rourke has said Trump is a "white nationalist" who encourages racism and violence in the U.S.

Context: A racist post attributed to the suspected El Paso gunman referencing a "Hispanic invasion" was posted online before the shooting.

  • Analysis shows Trump has run approximately 2,200 Facebook ads warning of an "invasion" at the southern border. The writer said the views expressed predated Trump's presidency.

The big picture: Per ABC, O'Rourke, whose ancestors settled in El Paso, is of Irish heritage and his birth name is Robert. But his parents gave him the Spanish nickname of "Beto" when he was a child.

What's next: O'Rourke tweeted earlier Tuesday that he plans to attend a counter event hosted by progressive and pro-immigrant groups when Trump visits El Paso Wednesday, which promises to honor the massacre victims and "confront President Trump and white supremacy, and demand responsible gun control."

  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) will also attend the counter event. Escobar tweeted earlier she had declined a White House invitation to join Trump after being told the president was too busy to speak with her on the phone ahead of his visit.

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8 El Paso victims did not want to meet with Trump, hospital says

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit an Emergency Operations Center in El Paso on August 7, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Eight victims of the El Paso mass shooting did not want to meet with President Trump on Wednesday and did not want any visitors, University Medical Center spokesman Ryan Mielke tells the Washington Post.

Why it matters, via the Post: "Trump’s visit to El Paso was unwelcome for many elected officials and other El Pasoans, who believe Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and the border has emboldened anti-immigrant groups."

Go deeperArrowAug 8, 2019

Tucker Carlson calls white supremacy "a hoax" after El Paso shooting

Fox News host Tucker Carlson at the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit in March. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on his show "'Tucker Carlson Tonight" Tuesday that white supremacy is a "hoax" and "actually not a real problem in America."

Why it matters: A racist manifesto complaining about a "Hispanic invasion" was posted online by a writer identified as the suspected gunman before the El Paso mass shooting Saturday. Per Axios' Jim VandeHei and Sara Fischer, white-extremist active shooters in the U.S. were responsible for 65 deaths in 7 episodes in the past 18 months.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Trump Facebook ads warning of immigrant "invasion" posted 2,200 times

President Trump speaks with reporters at the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has run approximately 2,200 Facebook advertisements warning of an "invasion" at the southern border, according to CNN analysis of the social media giant's political ad archive.

Why it matters: A study by Axios found last month that Trump is spending millions of dollars on Facebook ads, focusing on immigration as a key reelection strategy. However, his divisive rhetoric is being scrutinized amid reports that the suspected El Paso gunman spoke of an "invasion" in an online post just before the shooting massacre, CNN notes.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019