A Texas lawmaker told MSNBC on Tuesday that victims of the deadly Saturday shooting in El Paso, Texas, told her from their hospital beds to instruct President Trump to not visit the city.
In an interview on “All In with Chris Hayes,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who represents the city in Congress, told Hayes that several survivors of the shooting volunteered the anti-Trump sentiment unprompted during her discussions with them.
“This community is full of hope and resilience and beauty,” Escobar told Hayes. “But the other thing that I heard, Chris, totally unsolicited, from victims still in the hospital as they’d grabbed my arm and tell me, ‘Tell [Trump] not to come here.'”
“The words he’s used to dehumanize us … they have a consequence,” she continued, adding that the president was making Hispanic Americans feel as if they are not really American.
Rep. Escobar describes visiting El Paso shooting victims in the hospital – some of whom asked her to "tell [Trump] not to come here." pic.twitter.com/AyGcZMkHrB
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 7, 2019
Escobar’s comments came after the president gave a special 10-minute address to the nation on Sunday following the shooting in El Paso and another deadly mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which occurred within hours of each other. The address did not include a pledge to visit the two cities, but El Paso’s mayor said Monday at a news conference that Trump planned to visit the city Wednesday.
On Twitter, Escobar added that she was informed in her discussions with the White House that Trump was “too busy” for a discussion with her about his rhetoric aimed at Hispanic communities.
“I declined the invitation because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit. I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words & actions have caused our community and country,” she added.
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. I asked for a call so I could say this to him over the phone and ask for a dialogue that could lead to healing.
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) August 6, 2019
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who previously represented the city in Congress and as mayor pro tem before announcing his presidential bid earlier this year, tweeted Monday that the president should not visit.
Democrats including O’Rourke have blamed Trump’s incendiary rhetoric aimed at Hispanic immigrants for Saturday’s shooting, arguing that the suspected shooter’s manifesto mirrored much of the president’s own arguments.
“We need to heal,” O’Rourke tweeted. “He has no place here.”