MCALLEN, RGV – U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar says she does not want President Trump to visit El Paso while her community is in mourning.
The El Paso Democrat is one of a number of politicians who believes the president’s words and actions have fueled racial hatred in America.
Escobar was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show this morning. She started by saying:
“I first want to say, Mika, that I live in an extraordinary community. People have come together like never before. People are wrapping their arms around one another, we had two beautiful vigils last night. We are the epitome of goodness as a community. We welcome the stranger. We take care of the vulnerable and that is who El Paso is. I am so proud to be a member of this community.
Journalist Mika Brzezinski is co-host of Morning Joe.
“Words have consequences and the president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country we are people to be feared, people to be hated. He has done that at his rallies, he has done that through his twitter,” Escobar said.
“I heard earlier from someone that he may be coming here. I hope that he has the self-awareness to understand that we are in pain and we are mourning, and we are doing our very best in our typical, beautiful, grateful El Paso way to continue to be resilient 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.”
Escobar was asked by co-host Joe Scarborough to tell the viewers about her constituents, some of whom were purchasing back to school supplies at a Walmart store on Saturday morning when a gunman with a military-style semi-automatic weapon walked in and started gunning them down. The gunman, who has captured, is said to have published a manifesto minutes beforehand decrying the growth of the Hispanic population in Texas.
“Joe, there were some incredible acts of heroism, among those a young mother and a young father who used their bodies as shields to protect their infant child. Both of those beautiful lives are gone. The infant is alive but is now an orphan.
“There were kids who were having a fundraiser for their soccer team outside of the Walmart, raising money for their team with their parents and their teammates and their coach. And when the shooter approached they ran inside to hide in the bakery. One of the mothers told me that the shooter went inside after them and yelled where are you, looking for those kids.
“There are stories about elderly couples who were at the checkout. There was one elderly gentleman paying while his wife waited on a bench while he paid for the groceries. As the gunman ran in the wife was escorted to the back, hurriedly. People were being shuffled to safety. Her husband didn’t make it and she has to live with that survivors guilt.
“All of this has happened because Hispanic people have been dehumanized. They have been dehumanized by the president, by his enablers, by other politicians. This is one of the lowest points in American history and if we don’t recognize this as such, we will not have the turning point that we so desperately need as a country.”
Escobar was asked for her reaction to a tweet President Trump put out this morning that blamed the media for the increase in violence in society; that fake news has contributed greatly and that if this is not addressed, these problems will only get worse.
“It is shocking to me that he is so utterly self-aware and this is why from my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning,” Escobar said.
“This is the site of one of his rallies. I heard Mika earlier mentioned that violence increased, violence went up, hate crimes went up in communities where he has held rallies. He came into one of the safest communities in the nation and as a result… well maybe not as a result, that is probably unfair… but, months later a gunman came into our community, one from outside of this community, came into this beautiful, tranquil, loving place to do us harm.”
Escobar said she would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection.
“I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies because we are not going to get past this until there is an acknowledgement from the very top that we need o heel, that this whole country is hurting, that there has been bigotry and racism and hatred that have been stoked at all levels. And as the president he has the most significant authority and responsibility to show this country, to lead this country into healing and now is the time. And he needs to accept responsibility, everyone does for what has gotten us to this point.”
Escobar was then played a video clip from a Trump rally where the president was talking about an invasion, of a caravan of 20,000 people headed to the United States. Trump asked the audience how do you stop them. Someone in the crowd shouted “shoot them.” The president laughed and said that only in the Panhandle can you do that.
“Joe, when I first saw that clip, right after the rally, I have to tell you it was very painful to hear. It is actually even more painful to listen to now. I worried about what was going to happen to our country,” Escobar responded.
“I have to again say that in El Paso we have chosen to look at hate and return that with love, and we are going to keep doing that. We are going to continue to be a kind, generous, loving community, a unified community, a strong, resilient community. All of the people who rushed to the assistance of those who were gunned down, those who were injured, they are incredible, incredible, heroes. And every single one of the families who have been touched by this horrific tragedy, they are going to need a lot of support, a lot of goodwill. That is what we are going to focus on in El Paso. That is going to be our mission, to make sure that everyone gets all the help and support that they need, the comfort that they need. We are going to continue to emulate goodness and charity and love, regardless of what has been wrought upon us.”