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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a message for white supremacists: Come back to reality.
In a speech from August 5 posted to her Twitter account last night, Ocasio-Cortez told people “falling into the grips of white supremacy” that they’re “not too far gone.”
“Because there is a mother waiting for you. I know it. I know there’s a teacher waiting for you, saying, ‘What happened to my kid?’ ‘What happened to my friend?’” Ocasio-Cortez said at a vigil for victims of two mass shootings this weekend. “And we will always be here and hold space for you to come back. We will love you back. You are not too far gone.”
On Saturday, a gunman shot and killed at least 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, and less than a day later, another shooter murdered nine people in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio. The El Paso shooter posted a white nationalist manifesto shortly before the attack that warned against “race-mixing” and the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Language in the manifesto echoes President Trump’s own comments that immigrants are “invading” the U.S. “We have an INVASION!” one of the Trump campaign’s Facebook ads reads. “So we are BUILDING THE WALL to STOP IT. Dems will sue us. But we want a SAFE COUNTRY! It’s CRITICAL that we STOP THE INVASION.”
Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time in saying that terms like “invasion” and “infestation” are racist.
“When we allude to people as an invasion, as an infestation, we are directly pulling from the language of white supremacy. Directly pulling from the language of white supremacy. So I don’t want to hear the question, ‘Is this president racist?’ anymore. He is,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress, similarly condemned — with expletives — the president for his racist speech in recent days. Other Democratic presidential candidates, like California Senator Kamala Harris and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, have also called Trump racist in the wake of both shootings.
In an address at the White House on Monday morning, Trump blamed mental illness and violent video games for the proliferation of gun violence in the U.S. During that speech, he also advocated for the adoption of federal “red flag” laws that would allow people to petition local courts to prevent mentally ill friends or relatives from possessing guns.
Trump will visit both El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday. His planned visit to El Paso has drawn ire from some local leaders, who are still sour that one of the president’s former rallies there cost the city nearly half a million dollars.
Cover image: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in Grand Army Plaza on August 5, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)