El Paso congresswoman declines invitation to meet Trump

Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso tweeted Tuesday that she declined to meet with President Trump when he comes to the area Wednesday to meet with victims and families of this weekend’s shooting. Escobar, a Democrat, wrote she refuses to “join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words and actions have caused our community and country.”

Mr. Trump is visiting El Paso as the city continues to recover after a shooter opened fire at a Walmart on Saturday, killing 22 people and wounding dozens more. The Justice Department said it is treating the incident as domestic terrorism.

The 21-year-old suspect in Saturday’s shooting is believed to have written a racist screed expressing support for the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting and denouncing the increasing Hispanic population in Texas. 

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Escobar drew a direct link between the shooting and Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on immigration

Texas Mall Shooting
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke walks next to his wife Amy Hoover Sanders and Rep. Veronica Escobar Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, during a silent march holding sunflowers in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas.  AP

“We have been talked about a lot by the president. We have been ground zero for the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda,” Escobar told CBS News. “That means we’ve been in the news a lot.”    

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Escobar noted her public comments linking Mr. Trump to the suspect’s words, and wrote Mr. Trump “has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us.”

But, Escobar wrote, she was told Mr. Trump is “too busy” for the call. As a result, she said she declined the invitation because she refuses to be “an accessory to his visit.”

Escobar’s predecessor in the congressional seat, 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke, has also publicly asked Mr. Trump not to come to El Paso. On Sunday, he told “Face the Nation” that Mr. Trump “not only tolerates, but invites the kind of racism and hatred that — that not only offends us, but — but changes who we are as a country and produces the kind of violence that we saw in El Paso.”

Beto O’Rourke says Trump’s rhetoric “has a lot to do” with El Paso shooting

Camilo Montoya-Galvez contributed to this report.

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