By Paul Steinhauser
Published August 07, 2019
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas is staying put in El Paso in the wake of this past weekend’s mass shooting.
The Democratic presidential candidate suspended his campaign activities on Saturday following the shooting, and quickly returned to his hometown, cutting short a swing in the early voting caucus state of Nevada.
On Wednesday, O’Rourke’s campaign announced that the candidate is canceling his Friday through Sunday trip to Iowa, the state that kicks off the primary and caucus calendar. O’Rourke was scheduled to speak at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines and the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake. Both are must-stops for Democratic White House hopefuls.
Twenty-two people were killed and at least two-dozen injured in the shooting. The suspect in the El Paso massacre allegedly wrote a white nationalist manifesto ahead of the shootings.
O’Rourke has visited hospitals in El Paso to speak with some of those injured in the shooting and has attended vigils since returning home on Saturday. And his campaign staff in Iowa and New Hampshire – which holds the first presidential primary – have donated blood and sent care to people injured in the shootings.
O’Rourke’s cancelation of his Iowa swing came on the same day that President Trump was flying to El Paso to visit with law enforcement, first responders and victims of the shooting, which left at least 22 people dead. The president will also stop in Dayton, Ohio, the site of another mass shooting this past weekend.
Meanwhile, the campaign of another Democratic presidential candidate, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan -- who doesn’t represent Dayton but has been outspoken in calling for gun control in the wake of the shooting -- told Fox News the candidate still plans to appear for campaign events in Iowa this weekend.
In Texas, O’Rourke has urged the president not to come to El Paso. The former congressman – along with many other Democrats – has linked Trump’s divisive rhetoric on immigration to the El Paso shooting – arguing the president’s “racism” was responsible for inciting the shooter.
Trump has rejected those comments: Shortly before departing Washington on Wednesday morning, the president took to Twitter to tell O’Rourke to “be quiet.”
And pointing to the charges by many of his Democratic 2020 challengers that he’s partially to blame, Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One that “they're trying to make political points.”