Trump couldn’t make it through his recent visit to El Paso without insulting the city’s mayor, according to PBS’s “Frontline.”
In an interview with Frontline, Republican Mayor Dee Margo relayed a conversation he had with Trump during a car ride from the airport.
“He said, ‘You’re a RINO,'” Margo said. RINO, or “Republican in name only,” is an insult insinuating that a particular politician is not conservative enough.
“I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO,'” Margo said. “I said … ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did.'”
Trump’s insult stemmed from a dispute following his State of the Union address in February, when Trump lied about violent crime in El Paso. In the speech, Trump claimed that a fence along the border turned El Paso from one of the most violent cities in America into a city with less violent crime.
After the speech, Margo called out Trump’s lie, which Trump was using to justify spending billions of U.S. taxpayer money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Trump has long since abandoned his campaign pledge that Mexico would pay for such a wall.)
Trump’s insult came during a visit that was already being criticized by the residents of El Paso. Trump ostensibly went to comfort a grieving city in the wake of a mass shooting where a white supremacist walked into a Walmart and killed 22 people. The shooter later told the police that he wanted to kill “Mexicans” and used other hateful and racist language about immigrants that bore a striking resemblance to that used by Trump.
Before his visit, El Paso’s Democratic congresswoman, Veronica Escobar, said Trump wasn’t welcome.
“Words have consequences. And the president has made my community and my people the enemy,” Escobar said. “He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.”
One woman credited with saving at least 40 lives in the massacre did not mince words about Trump’s responsibility for what happened.
“You preach and you say things, and this is what happens,” Adria González said in a video posted after the shooting, gesturing to the crime scene at the site of the killings.
Trump visited El Paso in February for a campaign rally, and he wasn’t welcome at that time, either. The rally followed on the heels of Trump insulting the city during the State of the Union address.
To add further injury to the city, Trump has thus far refused to pay El Paso for debts incurred during the campaign rally. His campaign still owes the city more than $569,000 for providing security during the visit.
The mayor wasn’t even the only person Trump insulted while he was in town. During a visit to a local hospital, Trump used his time in the city to lie about the size of his February rally and attack former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president and the person who formerly represented El Paso in Congress.
Trump was only in El Paso for a few hours last week, but even during his brief visit, he simply could not restrain himself or muster the appropriate presidential demeanor a grieving city would expect.
Published with permission of The American Independent.