Beto O'Rourke (D.) accused President Donald Trump of inviting mass shootings during an appearance Saturday at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention.
The former Texas congressman said the El Paso shooter, who killed 22 people, was a product of America's racist culture and Trump's racist rhetoric.
"This person drove 600 miles with that hatred, really at the invitation of our president, and opened fire with that AK-47 on innocent people in a Walmart, killing 22 of them and grievously wounding many dozens more," O'Rourke said.
He proceeded to demand an aggressive gun-control agenda. Listing the items of that agenda, he said the political difficulty of legislating it all would not deter him.
"A gun registry in this country, licensing for every American who owns a firearm, and every single one of those AR-15s and AK-47s will be bought back so they are not in our streets, not in our homes, do not take the lives of our fellow Americans," he said to loud applause. "And we are going to do that together."
Assuming the position of a much-publicized New York Times series, O'Rourke stated the country's founding was not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first African slave was brought to North America. This was the root of the gun violence problem, he argued.
"This is a country that has been defined by foundational, systemic, endemic racism, since the very founding of this country, August 20 of 1619, the first time that a kidnapped African was brought here against his will and made to serve as a slave to build the greatness and success and the wealth of this country, which his descendants would never be able to fully participate in," O'Rourke said.
"This is the reality of United States of America," O'Rourke continued.
He went on to argue it was only a matter of time before Trump, who has "no honor, no morals, and no ethics," would bring about such an attack with his rhetoric.
"Sooner or later it was going to find us. It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when," he said.
O'Rourke continued to praise progressive social movements that he said reflect the aspiration of some in America to right historical wrongs.
"This is a country that has produced Moms Demand, this is a country that has produced March for Our Lives, this is a country that has produced the leadership that will ensure that we not only have universal background checks and red flag laws and end the sale of those weapons of war, but that we go the necessary steps further, as politically difficult as those may be," O'Rourke said.