At national Latino gathering, Democrats blast Trump after El Paso shooting

Democratic candidates blasted President Donald Trump and his rhetoric toward Latinos Monday at a gathering of UnidosUS, the largest Latino civil rights organization, meeting the week after two massacres left 31 dead in two different cities.

The massacre in El Paso — which is being called a domestic terrorist attack — occurred about an hour after the suspected gunman is believed to have posted a screed online that spoke of Hispanic invasion and racial mixing. He went on to shoot shoppers at a Walmart. The number of dead rose to 22 Monday after a hospitalized victim died.

The 31 deaths and the ongoing struggles for survival of several wounded pushed aside what would have been an effort by the candidates to woo support as they compete in a crowded field.

“The attack two days ago was an attack of a Latino community, it was an attack on immigrants, it was an attack on Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans. And that was not an accident. That is in part due to the climate this president has set,” said Julián Castro, who is Mexican American and is the only Latino candidate in the race. Castro was not planning to attend to spend time with family, but adjusted his plans after the shooting.

Five candidates vying to be the Democratic presidential nominee spoke at the forum held by UnidosUS, formerly known as National Council of La Raza, which is holding its national conference in San Diego.