Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) blistered President Donald Trump at Thursday night's Democratic debate as a "white supremacist" who posed a threat to the safety of people of color in the United States.
O'Rourke said racism was "endemic" and the country's creation could be traced to Aug. 20, 1619, the first time African slaves were brought to American shores, rather than July 4, 1776.
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Laying out a series of stats he said demonstrated systemic racism in the U.S., he pledged to sign a reparations bill into law as president and said Trump was a "mortal threat" to minorities.
"I'm going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundation," he said. "But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House, and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country."
O'Rourke attacked Trump in his opening statement on Thursday, saying the El Paso massacre by the killer motivated to shoot immigrants showed the "cost and consequence" of his presidency.
"A racism and violence that had long been a part of America was welcomed out into the open and directed to my hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed, dozens more grievously injured by a man carrying a weapon he should never have been able to buy in the first place, inspired to kill by our president," he said.
O'Rourke, whose candidacy has struggled to gain traction since its launch earlier this year, has received praise from other 2020 candidates for his response to the El Paso massacre.