tv Campaign 2020 Beto O Rourke Speech in El Paso CSPAN August 16, 2019 3:18am-4:00am EDT
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[marching band playing in distance] ♪ [crowd talking] mr. o'rourke: good morning. buenos dias. isn't it beautiful to hear the el paso high band practicing behind us? we may hear the strains of the next song coming through over the course of this conversation , but i was just thinking about the fact that charlotte and i, raised by melissa and pat and our sister aaron grew up four
blocks from here and when i would walk to el paso high i would walk through this park, climb over this wall, and make my way to the side of this mountain and see chris and jim and robert and our friends at el paso high, and it's definitely a part of who i am. helped to form me and shape me , and makes me proud of this community, who we are, looking out at everyone who has taken the time to be here this morning. i just want to begin with my gratitude and my thanks and an expression of my overwhelming pride in this community at this moment. after this horrific tragedy on august 3, where 22 lives were taken from us, dozens more injured and still grieving, many still at del sol and university medical center, not yet through the woods, but being pulled through by their families and their friends and this community.
the way that we have met this tragedy, though we were targeted because we are a community of immigrants, because we are a community that is 85% mexican american, they tried to define us by our differences and i think we showed just how strong we are and i hope gave an example to the rest of the country about who we can become as americans. last week, we went over to the memorial that's just outside walmart, and we were paying our respects along with hundreds of el pasoans. there was a band playing, preachers praying, families who just in silence and through tears, were trying to take in what just happened to this community and this country and to all of us.
and i remember that a chaplain found me and brought me over, saying there is someone he would like me to meet. he introduced me to a gentleman named antonio. who was kneeling in front of a cross. and black painted said margie. and the chaplain said he has been here every single night since that terrorist act. in front of the cross that represents his wife, the woman he loved, the woman with whom he built a life, the woman who means everything to him. he doesn't have other family in this community, doesn't have a lot of friends right now to grieve with, but i want you to ask him about his story. and i did. i went up to antonio and told me about margie and the most beautiful smile broke through on his face and i thought of the
grace he was showing to me and others who were there to mourn with him. you could forgive him if he was consumed by his grief and didn't want to talk to or listen to or be with any of us. but that wasn't the way that he responded. and then the chaplain, and i didn't know how this would work out, antonio, stand up, tell the hundreds of people hear about your wife margie. shyly, and then a voice you could on the site here at first, he did that. the chaplain said everybody come around. this guy needs a hug right now. and then one after another, tens of dozens, hundreds of el pasoans surrounded him, and he was crying and was so powerful and cathartic for him, for us, for this community, and for anyone in this nation taking the time to watch what was happening. and that's just one of many
stories we've learned, we've witnessed over the last two weeks. flying home from las vegas, nevada, when i got the news, a young gentleman named chris walks up to me, flying back to el paso, as well, because i just learned that my mother rosemary has been shot at walmart. i have no idea how she is doing and what her condition is. nothing, no news. i said if it is any help, i, my wife amy, would love to join you , and he said that would be great. i could use the help right now. we went over to umc. when you walked into that room, chris, your mother, rosemary, who had been shot in the chest, both of her lungs perforated, tubes coming out of her chest, snaking through the hospital sheet coming down onto the floor. a mask over her face, the biggest smile i have ever seen produced by another human being to see you in that room, and for
your sisters to be there as well and the strength and grace to meet me, a complete stranger in her life, and to make sure i felt welcomed in intensive care unit hospital room. to meet the nurses and doctors and the frontline staff that were going to make sure that she was going to make it. and i wondered to myself, where in the world does she get that strength and courage? and the next day at the hospital i found the answer. it was her mother in her early 80's, who was also shot in the aftermath of that shooting, tended to other victims in the parking lot and inside the store before she ever thought about the wounds that she was walking with, that ultimately forced her to sit down and lie down and be hospital, where again her life where again her life was
saved. by extraordinary el pasoans in this community, when she was on her way into her shift, a doctor stopped me and said beto, i love the way the community is coming together and i want you to know i'm going into my shift, we will keep saving these lives and also i want you to know i'm an immigrant. i'm not unlike so many people in this community, so many millions in america who, by their very presence, and sacrifice and service make this country great. this is a beautiful community. one of, if not the safest cities in the united states of america, safe not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants, more than a quarter who live here came here, chose us, left their hometown, their family, their culture, their language far too often to start anew here as strangers in a strange land, to do better for themselves and for their kids, but also to do better for us. and they have.
and this connection that we have with ciudad juarez is one of the most beautiful you will find from two city to two countries anywhere in the world, 3 million. with two histories, two nationalities joined, not separated, by the rio grande river, forming something far greater, and more powerful than the sum of their parts or the number of people involved. we went to one of the funerals in ciudad juarez. eight mexican nationals killed on that day here in our community. and again, the grace that those survivors and families showed in the face of such adversity and pain and suffering that i can only imagine. it made us sad, as well, but it also inspired us with the strength and the courage that they showed. we owe this community time to
heal. we owe one another our very best. as those families make it through the toughest days they've ever known, the toughest days we've ever known. from what i've seen since august 3, this community, el paso and ciudad juarez, is more than up to the task. there is an embarrassment of riches of kindness and compassion and help and service in el paso right now. you know that because you are part of that. but i think we also owe ourselves, this community, the families that have been affected, answers about why this happened here in el paso. answers about what it's going to take to ensure this does not continue to happen in el paso, or in communities like ours or anywhere across the united states.
i begin with the gun that was used in that act of terror and the number of guns we have in this country right now. you may have read the news that the killer's mother, when she had learned he had ordered an ak-47 and had received it, called the police in allen, texas. what does my son, who is not enlisted in the military, who has no need for a weapon of war, no training in it, what does he need with this gun? though she may not have known how to articulate the question she was asking for help for
herself, for her son, and really, by extension, for this country. i know from listening to the surgeons and the doctors who have treated these gunshot victims, some of whom also serve at william beaumont army medical center, have been trained in combat trauma care, the wounds that they're seeing are like the wounds they saw in afghanistan and iraq. these weapons, like the ak-47, were designed to kill people as effectively, as efficiently and as great a number as possible, theyre doing. number as possible, and that's exactly what they're doing. when you listen to doctors describe the internal injuries of these survivors, it is absolutely horrifying. but to this point we have a congress too craven to act. a democracy not up to the task, that favors those who can pay for access and influence and outcomes, the complicity and the
silence of those who are in positions of public trust, and that is exactly what has happened here in this country. we have a racism in america that is as old as america itself, and intolerance towards those who do not look like or pray like or love like or speak like the majority in this country. that's part of our story. and we absolutely need to tell it, to face it, to acknowledge it if we are ever going to change it. but we have always tried, until now, to change that. until this president, who so openly speaks in racist terms, who so openly favors one race, one religion, one kind of people in this country over every other kind of people in this country.
proposing to ban all muslims, all people, of one religion, one faith from the shores of a country that is comprised of people the world over, every walk of life, from every tradition of faith, it is hard to imagine this is happening in america, but it is happening in america. to tell people of color, born in this country, to go back to where they came from. to describe klansmen and neo-nazis and white supremacists and white nationalist terrorists as "very fine people" after they have marched and chanted "jews, you will not replace us." someone, in his maiden speech for the highest office in the land, the greatest position of power and public trust, who described mexican immigrants, though they commit crimes at a lower rate than those born in this country, as rapists and
criminals, constantly warns through incessant repetition of invasions and infestations and calls people, human beings -- and let's be clear, the most desperate and vulnerable human beings, fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet, showing up here without a dime to their name, without any prospect of hope or advancement except that they came here to this country of asylum-seekers and refugees and immigrants, this country known by the statue of liberty, he calls them animals and predators and killers. and this may, of this year, in florida, as he warns about this invasion -- and asks the question to the assembled masses, what are we going to do to stop these people?
and someone yells out, "shoot them." the crowd roars their approval. in the face of that, the president signals his consent, he smiles, he laughs, he encourages more of it. every single year for the last three, hate crimes have been on the rise in this country. those counties that hosted a donald trump rally saw hate crimes increase by more than 200%. i want to make clear to you, to us, to the country, that what he says and what he does is not just offends our sensibilities, our understanding of the traditions of this great country. it changes who we are as a country. you do not get kids in cages until you have given people permission to put them in cages, by calling them animals, and seeking to dehumanize them. you don't lose the lives of seven children in the custody and care of the wealthiest, the most powerful country on the face of the planet unless you
have made it possible. and you do not get somebody driving 600 miles to come to this community, in his manifesto repeating the very words used by the president of the united states to justify this act of terror and hatred and violence and death. and yet in the face of this, our institutions have failed us. and in this democracy, none of us can take any comfort or feel in any way superior because all of us are part of the institutions, whether it is our legislatures, our congress, the press, social media, they're all comprised of all of us. but they have been impotent in the face of the gravest threat that we have ever known, one that we experienced firsthand here in el paso a week ago
saturday. it's almost as if the bigger the lie, the more obvious the injustice, the more furious the pace of this bizarre behavior, the more incapable we are of seeing it and clearly naming it and acting against it. this attack on el paso is an attack on america. it is an attack on our ideal of what america can be, and america -- an america that has not been for so many in this country based on their race, ethnicity, country of national origin, gender, sexual orientation. as langston hughes said in his poem about an america that was not an america for everyone, it is the land that has never been
yet, and yet must be. it is in this land, in this very community, after the election of this president at lbj elementary, that a third grade student approached us and asked why does the president not like me? it's in this country, in houston, texas, when i retold that story that a family came to be and said it resonates with us because we have a third grader in our home. she's not mexican american, she's muslim. and she wonders if there is some other country we are supposed to go back to. she was born here, she is a u.s. citizen here, she's just as american as anyone else. when we allow this country to be defined along lines of race and ethnicity and religion, we allow a commander-in-chief to not only welcome that, but the violence
that follows, to defy our laws, our institutions and any ethical or moral boundaries. the end of that road is the end of this idea of america. the end of an america where every single one of us can belong and have a future. i'm confident that if at this moment, we do not wake up to this threat, then we, as a country, will die in our sleep. the response to this has to be that each of us make a commitment to see clearly, to speak honestly, and to act decisively in this moment of truth. i, for one, see more clearly than ever, that in a country that has 320 million people, 390
million firearms, that we have too many guns, too many people who own them and use them and threaten us with them right now for the good of this country, for the good of the 40,000 of our fellow americans, our fellow human beings who will lose their lives to gun violence this year and every year going forward until we change course.
and i see more clearly than i ever have that not only do we need universal background checks, not only do we need to end the sale of assault weapons that have no place in our communities, but we must, as a country, buy those weapons and take them off our street. that accepted high school students being shot in el paso high right behind me. bold and stand up against those who prevent us from saving lives for americans. now thane clear to me it has ever been before that when we do not make progress on the human dignity of our fellow
americans, the ability to work a job, and just one job, not two or three because you are paid a living wage, depends on healthcare that is a right that you don't have to worry about, so that you are well enough to live to your full potential, to know that your community, that you and your family count, not only is it the right thing to do, to make sure that this country is realizing its full potential and promise for every single one of us. when we fail to do that, we provide fertile ground for the kind of demagogues we have in office right now who will use your fear and your frustration against you, against us, against one another. demonize immigrants and minorities, blame them for the problems that you have. i see more clearly now than i ever have before that immigrants in this community, in this state, in this country, will continue to be attacked, not just killed as they were at the walmart, but terrorized as we just saw last week in mississippi. 600 people who came to this country for the privilege of working the toughest, shittiest
jobs that no one else here would allow their children to work, in chicken processing plants, in picking cotton, in working in the gym, working two or three shifts, maybe making minimum wage if they are lucky. far too often their immigration status, used as leverage against them to pay them something far less or nothing at all. [indiscernible] this has, in part, caused this kind of treatment of the people who make america great, who are part of who we are, the very fabric of our lives, and the response to that is no more being defensive or being on the back foot or apologizing for who we are and who we want to be.
it is using the example of el paso, texas, and showing that when we legalize those who are in this country, when we free dreamers from any fear of deportation by making them u.s. citizens, when we elevate the asylum-seeker, the refugee, that person who has no other hope or choice but to come here, not only is it good for them, it is great for the united states of america, and fundamental to any success or strength or safety or security we could hope to have. and i see more clearly than i ever have before that if we do not tell our story, others will tell it for us. this proud community has to tell the world just who we are and what made us so special. and to remind ourselves that the -- that though we have something absolutely extraordinary here in el paso and sued at warez --
though we are separated by hundreds of miles from the other centers of power and population, as martin luther king reminded us, we are all caught in this inextricable, inescapable network of mutuality. we are tied in a single garment of destiny. sooner or later, the challenges, the problems of this country will come find you, as they came and found us on august 3. so telling the full and real and true story of this country, just who made us great in the first place? on whose backs america was built and whose descendents could profit from it and whose descendents were virtually locked out from it? and knowing that and confronting it directly, clear-eyed, gives us the best chance of writing the next chapter of that story, whose ideal and goal and vision must be true and real equality and equity for every single one of us.
every single american treated with the dignity and respect that they're owed as americans, as human beings, just the way that we do it here in el paso, texas. monday, amy and i took ulysses and molly and henry to school. this morning, we rushed them out the door. janine gave them a ride, and i've got to tell you, there's some part of me, and it's a big part of me, that wants to stay here and be with my family and be with my community. i love el paso. there have even been some who have suggested that i stay in texas and run for senate. but that would not be good enough for this community. that would not be good enough for el paso. that would not be good enough for this country.
we must take the fight directly to the source of this problem. that person who has caused this pain and placed this country in this moment of peril, and that is donald trump. [applause] mr. o'rourke: i want to be the leader for this country that we need right now and that we do not have. someone who will not only not tear us apart, but do everything in our power to bring us together, someone who doesn't inflame but instead heals. someone who doesn't work with fear but instead hope. in other words, i want to be the kind of leader for this country that el paso has raised me and taught me to be. but as we head back on the campaign trail today, i know there is a way -- [applause]
mr. o'rourke: i know there is a way to do this better, and that came to me last week. someone asked if i was going to be heading back to iowa to go to the iowa state fair, corndogs and ferris wheels. and i said no, i can't go back for that. but i also cannot go back to that. the kind of challenges that we face in this country, at this moment of crisis, require an urgency. unless we want to reap the consequences of failing to meet them, consequences that we live and i hope learned from in el paso on august 3. and so, to those places where donald trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow americans, that's where you will find me in this campaign. [applause]
mr. o'rourke: from el paso, we're heading to mississippi to be with those families who have lost a loved one temporarily, maybe for the indefinite future, because of hostility of this administration towards immigrants. and i want to be there to help lift them up, to tell their story, to remind this country just who we are at our best. anyone that this president puts down, we are going to do our best to lift up. [applause] mr. o'rourke: and those communities, so long forgotten, counted out, not counted in to begin with, we're going to go there, as well, not only to learn about their challenges and their problems, but as is so often the case, to learn from them about the solutions to their challenges and their problems, their solutions to our challenges and problems as a country, places all over the country, places like el paso.
though we bore the brunt of this attack, of this hatred, this violence, of this country's an action -- inaction in the face of these threats, i also know that this community holds the answers, not just for our future here in el paso and ciudad juarez, but the future of this country. we see our differences not as dangerous or disqualifying, not just to be tolerated or respected, but to be embraced as fundamental to any hope we have of making it as a community, of making it as a country. i'm so fortunate to have been raised in this community, with amy raising our children in this community, to be here right now in this community. and i just want to promise you that every single day of this campaign, i will take the courage and the kindness, the warmth, the strength, the resolve of this community with
me, and i will share it with the rest of the country. because we in el paso, and i hope that we, as americans, still believe that though we have not realized the idea of america for everyone, it is still within our grasp. and we, the people of the border, can lead the way. thank you all for coming out here today. thank you for what you do. [applause and cheers] mr. o'rourke: so grateful to be with you. gracias. thank you all very, very much. thank you. [applause] mr. o'rourke: thank you all. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, linnea erickson of the think take third white, will talk about the divide between moderates and progressives within the democratic party. and u.s. national security correspondent paul shenkman discusses personnel shakeups within the u.s. intelligence community. and then gordon gray from american action forum talks about the rising budget deficit and the state of the u.s. economy following this week's stock market losses. be sure to watch c-span2 washington journal live 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion. colorado governor john
hickenlooper became the second presidential candidate to abandon their bid for the democratic nomination in 2020. here's the announcement he released yesterday. ago,little over six months i announced my run for president. in almost every regard, this journey has been more exciting and rewarding i ever imagined. although i did imagine a very different conclusion. you know, the people i've met across this country take responsibility to choose a president so seriously. living rooms and diners and backyards, people shared with me their deepest fears, their highest hopes. they want solutions. they want this country moving forward. chaos andck of the washington, d.c. i couldn't agree with them more. i ran for president because this country is being ripped apart by politics and partisan gains
while our biggest problems go unsolved. today, and ending my campaign for president, but i will never stop believing america can only move forward when we work together. don't tell me that we can't figure out how to lower prescription drug costs or tackle climate change. don't tell her we have to accept the number of gun deaths or reduce job prospects for far too many americans. i know that when people work hard enough to get past their differences, you can make amazing progress. that's what we did in colorado. and i'm so proud to travel the country until people that change is possible when you work together. that's how colorado made sure 94% of our people had health coverage. that's how we took on the nra and now have universal background checks. that's how we went from being 40th in job growth to the number one economy in the country. we've worked together. i'm also proud of the campaign. i want to thank each of you, the
leaders across this country, who supported this campaign, those of you who invested financially and the thousands more of you who made investments with your time and energy and ideas. thank you also much. i will always be grateful to our incredible staff, who worked their hearts out. you did great work. and of course, i have a wonderful circle of friends and colleagues, a remarkable son, and amazing wife. they mean the world to me. people want to know what comes next for me. i've heard from so many coloradans that want meet to run for united states senate. they remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. i intend to give that some serious thought. i've been a geologist, small i've always looked forward with hope. i always will.
thank you. ♪ >> campaign 2020. watch our live coverage of the presidential candidates on the campaign trail and make up your own mind. c-span's campaign 2020. your unfiltered view of politics. ♪ way the pros and cons of modern propaganda and political rhetoric on voters and consumers. this is one hour. [applause] thank you. i will introduce the panelist, how hirschfield, a behavioral psychologist at the ucla school of
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