President Trump is visiting El Paso on Wednesday after 22 people were killed in a mass shooting, but the president’s visit won’t be welcomed by all in the Texas city.
Beto O’Rourke, who grew up in the border city, will be spending Wednesday with residents — many of whom are protesting the president’s visit. O’Rourke previously represented El Paso in the House of Representatives.
President Trump attacked Beto in a tweet on Tuesday night, writing “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democratic Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement — & be quiet!”
The Texan wrote back, “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet, and neither will I.”
22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I. https://t.co/dakFPKj0vJ
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 7, 2019
In an interview on Wednesday, Beto was asked why he chose to respond to Trump and accused the president of “trying to intimidate this community, make us afraid of one another, of our differences, of the border, of immigrants. And we will not stand down.”
O’Rourke also called out the president’s rhetoric towards El Paso and immigrants:
“The president is part of the problem — his trafficking in lies. He’s called El Paso one of the most dangerous cities, repeatedly, in the country though it is one of, if not the, safest. Describing immigrants as rapists and criminals. Talking about invasions and infestations. All that fear, that anger, that hatred, that willingness to dehumanize our fellow human beings found a home in the killer and found an expression in that violence that we saw Saturday.”
“This community needs to heal,” he added, urging support for the families of the victims and survivors of the shooting. “It does not need more division from this president.”
Beto O'Rourke on why he responded to Pres. Trump's tweets: "[Pres. Trump] is trying to intimidate this community, make us afraid of one another … and we will not stand down." pic.twitter.com/6IYemzKP33
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 7, 2019
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar currently represents the city of El Paso. She declined the White House’s invitation to join Trump when he is in El Paso, saying in a statement “I refuse to be an accessory to his visit. I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words & actions have caused our community and country.”