BY Troy Closson
Following a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left 22 people dead and more than two dozen others wounded, Democratic presidential candidate and former congressman from the area Beto O’Rourke said Monday morning that President Donald Trump shouldn’t visit the city.
Later this week, Trump is expected to visit El Paso, along with Dayton, Ohio where another gunman killed nine people, in the city’s entertainment district. The Associated Press reported Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued advisories of VIP travel to both cities on Wednesday.
But the former El Paso congressman and current Democratic candidate for president told the El Paso Times that Trump should stay away from the city.
“He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday,” O’Rourke said. “He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal.”
Many officials including O’Rourke and other presidential candidates have cited President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric for inspiring such acts. Authorities are investigating a hate-filled manifesto, allegedly authored by the gunman, warning of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” amid other racist and xenophobic language.
Trump has used similar language to describe undocumented immigrants in multiple tweets over the past year. After a supporter at a May rally in Florida yelled that the U.S. Border Patrol should “shoot” migrants at the border, video shows Trump smiling and joking.
Along with O’Rourke, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, also said Monday morning Trump should not visit El Paso.
“From my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning,” Escobar told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection. I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies.”