(EDITOR’S NOTE, 8/8/19, 1:54 PM ET: News reports following the spread of the video indicate that there is no Walmart employee in El Paso using the name the man gave in the video. We have updated the headline and the story to reflect the new information.)
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) suspended his presidential campaign to help his community of El Paso, Texas heal after last weekend’s shooting.
In one emotional exchange caught on video, O’Rourke is seen talking to a young man whom CNN reporter Eric Bradner identified as 20-year-old Sean Nixon. According to Bradner, Nixon was working at the Walmart in El Paso at the same time a gunman walked in with an assault rifle and opened fire on shoppers after writing a hate-filled manifesto talking about “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Bradner tweeted that Nixon “helped a child” during the shooting. According to Walmart, however, the company has no record of an employee in El Paso using the name given in news reports.
At one point, Nixon is unsure of what to say after O’Rourke asked him if he was getting counseling or seeing a therapist. Then, Nixon started spontaneously sobbing intensely. O’Rourke immediately brought him in for a hug, and let Nixon cry as he held him.
“We need to fix it Beto, it’s too much,” Nixon said as he cried.
An emotional moment: Beto O’Rourke meets Sean Nixon, 20, a Walmart employee who was there at the time of the shooting and helped a child.
O’Rourke asked if he was getting counseling, offered his personal cell number and said to call if he needs help. pic.twitter.com/GryDGQJWeD
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) August 7, 2019
O’Rourke suspended all campaign activities following the mass shooting that left 22 dead and multiple others injured, and traveled to the city he used to represent in Congress to be with grieving families. O’Rourke was followed by presidential campaign press, who aggravated him to the point of O’Rourke swearing at them after an emotional vigil when a reporter asked if there was anything President Trump could do “to make this better.”
“What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals,” O’Rourke said. “Like, members of the press, what the fuck? It’s these questions that you know the answer to.”
Despite both President Trump and the El Paso terrorist using the word “invasion” to describe undocumented immigrants coming across the Southern border, Trump’s re-election campaign doubled down on its use of the word in Facebook advertisements, arguing that it was “accurate,” even though border arrest numbers during the Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. presidencies were higher and none of them used the word “invasion” to describe it.
“By objecting to an accurate description of the situation, Democrats and the media are trying to make it impossible to oppose illegal immigration without being called racist,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told the New York Times.
Mass shooting survivors like Nixon often suffer from debilitating mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and heightened substance abuse, according to the American Psychological Association. The group said those conditions can be minimized if survivors seek counseling and therapy, as O’Rourke suggested.
(Featured image: Eric Bradner/Twitter/Fair Use)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.