Donald Trump is visiting El Paso today following this weekend’s horrific mass shooting, despite loud and numerous calls from lawmakers and residents to stay away. As for the details of what Trump plans to do, his tweet yesterday was vague, saying he will “meet with First Responders, Law Enforcement, and some of the victims of the terrible shootings.” While we may not know exactly what Trump will do in El Paso, we already know what Trump will not do.
Trump removed all doubt that he might engage in an honest and meaningful conversation about what led to the shooting and how we can prevent another one. Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democratic Congresswoman whose district covers El Paso, told MSNBC yesterday that Trump “is not welcome here” and that he should not visit El Paso “while we are in mourning.” Given that the shooting suspect claimed he acted because of “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” Escobar urged Trump’s staff “to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies” that inspired the suspect’s dangerous paranoia.
Escobar explained that she would like to ask Trump to “acknowledge that you’ve dehumanized people who are good and equal to all of us” and say that “you need to rehumanize everyone.” But Escobar won’t get the chance because the White House informed her that Trump would be “too busy” to have such a conversation. Escobar therefore tweeted she will not meet Trump today 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.”
The growing resistance to Trump’s visit caused the callous cretin to lash out on Twitter around midnight. Rather than usher in the day with a show of nonpartisan healing and unity, Trump attacked Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who preceded Escobar in Congress: “Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!”
Trump has made it clear that he wants people to just shut up and let him bask in the spotlight today, throwing paper towels or whatever he feels he needs to do for his ego and the cameras. The last thing Trump wants is to talk about why the massacre took place and what we can do to stop the spread of such deadly hatred. Trump’s business and political successes would not have been possible without his decades-long embrace of racism and his gleeful deployment of it as a tool and a weapon. Trump won’t change, but fortunately we know that the occupant of the Oval Office will — and the sooner that happens, the better. It is a matter of life and death.