The shooting that killed 20 people at a crowded El Paso shopping area will be handled as a domestic terrorism case, and could carry the death penalty.
WASHINGTONÂ â€“ 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, TexasÂ â€” the location of a mass shooting where more than 20 people were killed in an apparent racist attackÂ â€” said Monday that President Donald Trump is not welcome there.
O’Rourke, who has repeatedly labeled TrumpÂ a “racist,” said that Trump helped create the tragedy in El Paso.
“This president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy possible, should not come to El Paso,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter.Â “We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here.”
Trump will be visiting El Paso on Wednesday, MayorÂ Dee Margo said during a press conference on Monday afternoon. Margo said he will meet with the president, as it is not a political visit.Â
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El Paso police have linked the suspected shooter to a “manifesto” he published before the shooting that containsÂ anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric, and authorities are investigating the attack as a potential hate crime.
The suspect is a 21-year-old white man from Allen, TexasÂ â€” part ofÂ the Dallas suburbs and nearly nine hours from El Paso.
The death toll isÂ 22 people in the shooting, with anotherÂ 24Â injured as of Monday.
Since Saturday’s shooting, O’Rourke has repeatedly and forcefully slammedÂ Trump’s rhetoric, as well as the media’s coverage of Trump’s language.
During an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, the Texas Democrat and former member of the House of Representatives compared Trump’s presidency to the Third Reich — the second such Nazi comparison in as many months.
“The only modern Western Democracy I can think of that has said anything close to this is the Third Reich, Nazi Germany,” O’Rourke said. “Talking about human beings as though they are animals, making them subhuman, to make it OK to put their kids in cages.”
“This president, his open racism, is also an invitation to violence,” O’Rourke continued.
During his remarks announcing his presidential bid in 2015, TrumpÂ labeled Mexican immigrants asÂ â€œpeople that have lots of problems,â€ adding that theyâ€™re bringing â€œdrugsâ€ and â€œcrimes,â€ and calling some â€œrapists.â€
The president in the past has also repeatedly criticized caravans ofÂ migrants mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador headed to the U.S. as an “invasion.”
While speaking to reporters on Sunday, O’Rourke was asked if there’s anything Trump “can do now to make this any better.”
â€œWhat do you think? You know the s***Â heâ€™s been saying. Heâ€™s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals,” O’Rourke responded. “I donâ€™t know, like, members of the press, what the f***?â€
“It’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country,” O’RourkeÂ continued. “He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”
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Earlier this year, Trump held a rally in El Paso to advocate for a border wall. Margo, a Republican, said he did not meet with the president during that visit.
“I will fulfill my obligations as mayor of ElÂ Paso to meet with the president to discuss whatever our needs are in this community and hope that if we are expressing specifics that we can get him to come through for us,” he said of Wednesday’s expected visit.
When asked whether he understood why some residents of El Paso are against the president’s visit, Margo said: “Yes, I understand!”
“We’re not dealing with that right now, we’re dealing with a tragedy of 22 people who have perished by an evil, hateful act of a white supremacist that has no bearing or belong in El Paso,” he continued.
Trump on Monday condemnedÂ “racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,”Â Trump said, addressing the nation. “Hate has no place in America.â€
However, heÂ indicated that his administration’s response to the shootings would be focused more on mental health and cultural issuesÂ than on gun control.Â
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Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has also said Trump is “not welcome” in the city.
“Words have consequences. The president has made my community and my people the enemy,”Â Escobar said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”Â “He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.”
“I hope that [Trump] has the self-awareness to understand that we are in pain, and we are mourning, and we are doing the very best in our typical, graceful, El Paso way to be resilient,” sheÂ continued. “And so I would ask his staff and his team to consider the fact that his words and his actions have played a role in this.”Â
Contributing: Nicholas Wu
President Trump suggested linking gun control legislation to immigration laws after the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, mass shootings.
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