Rep. Veronica Escobar, the El Paso congresswoman who has emerged as a leading advocate for families attacked under Donald Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant policies, has a message for him as her community mourns the loss of now 22 people who were shot and killed by a white supremacist terrorist: Stay away.
“From my perspective, he is not welcome here,” she said. “He should not come here while we are in mourning … words have consequences. And the president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.”
She’s right. Trump read aloud words written by someone else on Monday, but his own words are the same as those of the white supremacist terrorist, who called his massacre “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The New York Times reports that during one of his hatefest rallies last year, Trump screamed “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” about asylum-seekers. “That is an invasion!”
Trump’s rhetoric has already had brutal and violent consequences—just look at the supporters who have assaulted people just for being Latino—and it’s now emboldened mass terrorism in this peaceful community. “The shooter came into our community because we are a Hispanic community and because we have immigrants in our community,” Escobar said in a separate statement. “He came here to harm us.”
“The Department of Justice and local law enforcement have identified this as being motivated by hate,” she continued. “And it is this hate that is at the root of much suffering in our country. There are deadly consequences to bigotry, racism and hate. There are deadly consequences to dehumanizing our fellow human beings.”
Activists have noted that even as Trump claims he’s condemning white supremacy, his reelection campaign is “running new Facebook ads attacking immigrants and repeatedly naming two congresswomen of color,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar. This is who he is, and we’ve known this. It’s not what El Paso needs right now, Rep. Escobar said, and he can stay away.