President Donald Trump is visiting Dayton and El Paso today in the wake of two mass shootings that left 31 people dead and dozens more injured—despite calls from Texas officials to stay away while people mourn.
In the days after the shooting, the city of El Paso resoundingly rejected President Donald Trump’s plans to visit them. On Tuesday, El Paso City Council members expressed disagreement with Trump’s planned visit Wednesday, emphasizing his campaign still owes the city more than a half-million dollars for his last visit in February for a campaign rally.
“Our police and fire are exhausted, our health department had for three days straight been working with the reunification of families. As you see from the bill, these are the services required for a presidential visit,” Alexsandra Annello, a member of the El Paso City Council, told Yahoo News. “In addition to financial costs, our community and resources are already strained and do not need this extra burden.”
Other El Paso residents are being more forward with their rejections.
“Don’t come here President Trump, you are not welcome,” Cassandra Hernandez, a council member who represents the neighborhood where the shooting took place, also said, according to USA Today.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, told the New York Times he respects the role of the presidency too much for his own personal issues with Trump’s presence in El Paso to get in the way, calling it his “formal duty” to welcome Trump to El Paso. But beyond him, state and national politicians are furious.
In the wake of the shooting, Beto O’Rourke, who represented the El Paso area in Congress, returned to his hometown to advocate for the victims and survivors of the shooting. He’s also joined the chorus of officials telling Trump to stay away, saying on national television that the president “invites the kind of racism and hatred that...produces the kind of violence that we saw in El Paso.”
His successor, Rep. Veronica Escobar, has also expressed outrage about Trump’s visit, writing on Twitter on Tuesday night that she wanted to talk to Trump about what she had heard from her constituents who had survived the domestic terror attack but was told the president was “too busy.”
“My message would’ve been that he needs to understand that his words are powerful and have consequences,” Escobar also wrote. “I have publicly said he has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us.”
As a result, Escobar said she declined Trump’s invitation to join him on his visit. Instead, she and O’Rourke will be attending an #ElPasoStrong event to counter Trump’s visit.
“President Trump is not welcome in El Paso and his narrative around immigrants and Central Americans should not be welcome anywhere,” the Facebook page for the event reads.