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Beto O'Rourke returning to campaign trail following El Paso shooting

Updated 9:32 AM ET, Wed August 14, 2019

(CNN) - Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is returning to the presidential campaign trail Thursday after spending nearly two weeks in his hometown following the mass shooting that left 22 dead in El Paso.

O'Rourke will start Thursday morning by delivering a 9:15 a.m. ET speech from El Paso that his campaign is billing as one in which he will "outline the path forward for his presidential campaign and for the future of the country."

Aides did not say where O'Rourke's next public appearance after the Thursday speech will take place.

O'Rourke left the campaign trail following an appearance at a forum in Nevada on August 3 amid news of the mass shooting, in which police say the alleged gunman was a white supremacist who left a screed complaining of a "Hispanic invasion."

Since then, he has sought to rally his heavily Hispanic hometown on the US-Mexico border, casting it as one that is welcoming to migrants. He has also harshly criticized President Donald Trump, calling him a white supremacist and saying his rhetoric targeting immigrants has inspired a rise in hate crimes and efforts to target immigrants.

"I mean, connect the dots about what he's been doing in this country. He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country," O'Rourke told reporters after attending a vigil in El Paso the day after the shooting.

Since then, he has repeatedly visited the makeshift memorial outside the Cielo Vista Walmart where the shooting took place. He has also attended victims' funerals and visited Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which was the home of some of the victims of the shooting.


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