CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) told an outdoor gathering at the College of Charleston on Monday evening that white supremacy was “manifest in every part of American life.”
O’Rourke described a country founded on white supremacy, and said that the country was projecting its racism onto would-be migrants being detained on the border.
The Democratic presidential hopeful, who is trailing badly in the polls, recited a litany of claims — many of them debunked, such as the Charleston “very fine people” hoax — accusing President Donald Trump of fomenting racism in the country.
He also accused Trump, whom he likened to a fascist dictator, of “stochastic terrorism,” alleging that Trump was making provocative statements to encourage individuals, indirectly, to launch white supremacist attacks like the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
O’Rourke also called for a complete ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and a national buyback of AR-15 rifles and other legal weapons currently owned by Americans.
During the question-and-answer session, a pro-life member of the audience asked O’Rourke about his support for third-trimester abortions, asking if human life had no worth one day before birth.
O’Rourke said that the decision to end a pregnancy remained that of the mother — to enthusiastic cheers from the audience.
The gathering was part of the college’s “Bully Pulpit” series, a recurring, non-partisan political lecture event dating back to 2008. As the dean of the college reviewed a list of past speakers, one name drew applause: Barack Obama, who spoke at a lunchtime event in advance of the South Carolina primary in 2008, where he was endorsed by then-Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who would go on to serve as Secretary of State during Obama’s second term as president.
The “stage” was literally a small wooden shipping pallet, placed at the center of a coarse lawn in the middle of a small outdoor amphitheater between several university buildings. Roughly 300 people attended the event.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.