Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke described America as a country that persists through racism during a speech in Arkansas this weekend.
He posted a video of the speech to his Twitter page with the caption, "Our country was founded on racism—and is still racist today. In Arkansas, I said why I believe there’s no denying this reality; and why it’s on all of us to change it."
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Our country was founded on racism—and is still racist today. In Arkansas, I said why I believe there’s no denying this reality; and why it’s on all of us to change it. pic.twitter.com/cHLKmCMGEB
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 18, 2019
"This country, though we would like to think otherwise, was founded on racism, has persisted through racism, and is racist today," O'Rourke said in the speech.
The speech is part of O'Rourke's campaign relaunch, which he advertised as consisting of him taking on President Trump more directly.
"This racism, though foundational, literally kidnapping people from West Africa bring them here to build the greatness of this country on their backs, and then denying their ancestors the meaningful opportunity to join in the wealth they had created," he continued later in the speech. "For so long, it had flown under the surface, at least for people like me: a white guy from Texas. Borne every day by people who do not look like me, who have had a different experience, but it was only until this administration and this president that that racism was invited out into the open."
He proceeded to cite the Muslim ban and the "send them back" chants as evidence of the Trump administration's racism. He also mentioned the recent mass shooting in El Paso, saying, "That violence, that hatred, that racism, that found us. It drove 600 miles from Allen, Texas to El Paso, Texas, and came into that Walmart,"
"The responsibility to respond to this is on every single one of us," O'Rourke emphasized.
"Let's make sure that that is reflected in the laws we write, that we write them in our own image, to reflect the strong, long tradition of immigrants who are Americans, America which is a country of immigrants," he concluded at the end of the clip.
Despite weak polling, O'Rourke has insisted he will not drop out of the presidential race to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas.