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War of words between Trump and local politicians ahead of his El Paso visit

Dayton, El Paso residents to Trump: Stay home
Dayton and El Paso residents to Trump: Stay home 03:16

The congresswoman representing El Paso and her predecessor exchanged heated words with President  Trump on the eve of his scheduled visit to the Texas border city. The president is slated to travel Wednesday to El Paso as well as Dayton, Ohio – the sites of weekend mass shootings.

Rep. Veronica Escobar tweeted Tuesday that she declined a White House invitation to meet with Mr. Trump. Escobar, a Democrat, wrote that she refuses to "join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words and actions have caused our community and country."

The president is to visit El Paso as it continues to recover after a shooter opened fire at a Walmart on Saturday, killing 22 people and wounding dozens more. The Justice Department said it is treating the incident as domestic terrorism.

The 21-year-old suspect in Saturday's shooting is believed to have written a racist screed expressing support for the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting and denouncing the increasing Hispanic population in Texas.

Texas Mall Shooting
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks next to his wife, Amy Hoover Sanders, and Rep. Veronica Escobar on Aug. 4, 2019, during a silent march the day after a mass shooting in the El Paso Walmart AP

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Escobar drew a direct link between the shooting and Mr. Trump's fiery rhetoric on immigration.

Escobar's predecessor in the congressional seat, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke, has publicly asked Mr. Trump not to come to El Paso, as has Escobar. On Sunday, he told "Face the Nation" that Mr. Trump "not only tolerates, but invites the kind of racism and hatred that — that not only offends us, but — but changes who we are as a country and produces the kind of violence that we saw in El Paso."

Very late Tuesday, Mr. Trump tweeted a broadside at O'Rourke:

And O'Rourke fired right back:

Escobar and O'Rourke both tweeted that they would attend an event in El Paso on Wednesday organized by community organizers including Border Network for Human Rights and Women's March El Paso.

It wasn't clear how close that event would be to any of the president's stops or whether the times would overlap.

In a statement about the event, organizers said, "President Trump is not welcome in El Paso and his narrative around immigrants and Central Americans should not be welcome anywhere."

Brian Dakss, Caroline Linton and Camilo Montoya-Galvez contributed to this report.

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