Mulvaney Dodges Questions About Trump’s Racism to Accuse Beto O’Rourke of Politicizing El Paso Shooting

Mulvaney Dodges Questions About Trump’s Racism to Accuse Beto O’Rourke of Politicizing El Paso Shooting

Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney accused Beto O’Rourke of making an issue of President Trump’s white supremacist rhetoric in relation to Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso only because he’s running for president.

Mulvaney made the comments while being interviewed by ABC’s Jon Karl on Sunday’s edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. 

Karl noted that O’Rourke had said earlier that “the president’s rhetoric is fueling more hate in this country.” As examples, Karl pointed to Trump’s referring to the flow of undocumented migrants to the southern border as “an invasion” and his telling four nonwhite congresswomen to “go back to where they came from” recently. Though Karl did not say it, the implication was that it is not hard to draw a line from the president’s words to the alleged motive of the El Paso shooter, who reportedly feared Hispanic immigration would make white people a minority in Texas.

Mulvaney, with a deep sigh, responded:

“Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Beto O’Rourke, a former colleague of mine who I hold in high regard, is running for president and to the extent he can make this an issue, he’s going to.”

Karl might have followed up by noting that Beto O’Rourke is from El Paso. He represented the city for two terms in Congress. At least some of the people killed yesterday might have voted for him. He might even have conceivably known some of them personally, as he has lived in the area for most of his life.

So sure, the shooting is part of a larger political issue. But for O’Rourke, one imagines it might be an intensely personal one as well, much more so than for other politicians.

Mulvaney also spent part of the interview trying to distance Trump’s white nationalist rhetoric from the results of that rhetoric by calling white nationalists “sick, sick people” and adding the country needs “to figure out how to create less of those kinds of people as a society.”

He did not admit that one way would be for the president he serves to stop playing to the fears of angry white people by suggesting the country is at risk of becoming browner thanks to invading hordes of Hispanic migrants. Perhaps that sounds too much like common sense.

Watch the video above, via ABC News.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.