Rep. Escobar, Former Rep. O’Rourke Say Trump ‘Not Welcome’ in El Paso After Shooting

By Zachary Stieber

Former and current Democratic officials are saying President Donald Trump shouldn’t visit El Paso following a mass shooting in the Texas border city.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Aug. 5, two days after the shooting. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said that it was “probably unfair” to connect a rally Trump held in El Paso to the shooting. She also claimed that the president needs to “do a little self-reflection” on how he acts at the rallies he holds.

She then said that the president is not welcome in the city.

“It is shocking to me that [Trump] is so utterly self-aware,” Escobar told hosts, Joe Scarborough, and Mika Brzezinski. “And this is why, from my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning.”

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas)
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) speaks during a press conference following a tour in Border Patrol facilities and migrant detention centers for 15 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Clint, Texas, on July 1, 2019. (Luke Montavon/AFP)

“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 because we’re not going to get past this until there’s acknowledgment from the very top that we need to heal, that this whole country is hurting, that there has been bigotry and racism and hatred that has been stoked at all levels,” she added.

“And as the president, he has the most significant authority and responsibility to show this country, to lead this country into healing. And now is the time, and he needs to accept responsibility, everyone does, for what has gotten us to this point.”

It wasn’t clear what words from the president she was referencing.

Former Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, whose seat Escobar now sits in, echoed the sentiment. He told the El Paso Times on Monday that Trump “has no place here.”

The president “should not be in El Paso,” O’Rourke added.

President-Donald-Trump
President Donald Trump speaks about the shootings in El Paso and Daytonin the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington on Aug. 5, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

“He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate claimed. “He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal.”

Trump on Monday read a statement at the White House condemning racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. He then announced plans he’s put into motion to try to stop future mass shootings. Those plans include ordering government workers to partner with social media companies to react faster to possible shooters.

Trump also expressed support for so-called red flag laws and said he wants people who carry out mass shootings and or hate crimes to be executed “quickly.”

O’Rourke called Trump’s statement “meaningless.” He claimed that the Republican “literally launched his campaign for the presidency—the greatest position of public trust and power in the world—by trying to instill fear about immigrants.”

Residents mourn lives lost in a mass shooting
Residents mourn lives lost in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, 2019. (Dayton Ohio City Government/Facebook)

It wasn’t clear what O’Rourke was referring to.

Trump has not announced plans to visit El Paso or Dayton, Ohio, where a mass shooting took place early Sunday, as of yet.

Other Democratic lawmakers tried blaming Trump for the shootings, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

The alleged El Paso shooter said in his manifesto that his views, some of which were white nationalists, were not influenced by Trump. The alleged Dayton shooter appeared to be a Democrat who espoused views promoted by the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

He was calling immigration detention facilities “concentration camps” and pushing for gun control and violence against “fascists” and Ku Klux Klan members.

Bodies are removed from at the scene of the mass shooting in Ohio
Bodies are removed from at the scene of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on, Aug. 4, 2019. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that it was not fair to blame Trump for the shootings.

“This is a serious problem … but they are sick, sick people and the president knows that … I don’t think it’s fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president,” Mulvaney said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“Here’s the question you could ask Beto—and I would if he were sitting here. It’s a fair question I think to ask. Which is, look, did anyone blame Bernie Sanders for the Congressional baseball game shooting? No, I don’t think so. Did anyone blame Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the gentleman, for the crazy guy who tried to blow up the DHS office in Washington state, taking I think a homemade bomb and an AR-15 to shoot up what he called a concentration camp, the exact same rhetoric that AOC was using? Did anybody blame her?” Mulvaney asked.

“Look, there’s—there’s no benefit here to trying to make this a political issue. This is a social issue, and we need to address it as that.”