Beto O'Rourke: Donald Trump 'Poses a Mortal Threat to People of Color'

Beto O'Rourke once again called President Donald Trump a "white supremacist" during the Democratic Party's 2020 debate on Thursday night, saying that the U.S. leader "poses a mortal threat to people of color."

"Racism in America is endemic," O'Rourke said during the ABC News debate in Houston, Texas, with the 10 highest-polling candidates in the Democratic Party's 2020 primaries.

"It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the 4th of July, 1776, but August 20, 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will.

"And in bondage, and as a slave, built the greatness and the success and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy. We have to be able to answer this challenge."

O'Rourke cited several damning statistics about race in America, including that in his own state of Texas "a five-year-old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled based on the color of their skin."

"I'm going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundations," O'Rourke said.

"But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country."

The Trump 2020 campaign did not respond immediately to Newsweek's request for comment.

O'Rourke is a former candidate for Texas senator. He ran the Republican incumbent Ted Cruz closer than many expected in the 2018 midterms before throwing his hat in the ring for his party's presidential nomination. Before then he was a congressman for El Paso.

He is polling low. In a HarrisX poll of likely primary voters, O'Rourke secured just 2 percent of support, placing him in joint sixth place, well behind frontrunner Joe Biden, the former vice president, on 38 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in second place at 15 percent.

However, O'Rourke did secure one of the standout moments from the debate on the issue of guns.

He has the toughest stance on gun ownership of all the candidates and is committed to forcing owners of certain types of weapons to give them up.

Asked if he was proposing confiscation, O'Rourke said: "I am, if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. If the high impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so you would bleed to death on a battlefield, and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.

"When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, in Midland, there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time.

"Hell, yes. We're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore."

Beto O'Rourke Democratic Party 2020 debate
Democratic presidential candidate former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. Win McNamee/Getty Images