Trump was 'too busy' to take her phone call about the El Paso shooting, a Democratic lawmaker said. She's now refusing to join him during his visit to the city.

David Choi
Veronica Escobar

Andrew Harnik/AP


  • Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas rejected the White House's invitation to join President Donald Trump on Wednesday during his visit to El Paso, where he is expected to address Saturday's shooting that killed at least 22 people.
  • Trump's scheduled visit to El Paso has sparked controversy, and protests are expected.
  • Escobar, a freshman Democrat, tweeted on Tuesday that she "requested a phone call" with the president to share stories from her constituents affected by the shooting.
  • Escobar said she was told that Trump was "too busy" to have the discussion. She said she refused "to be an accessory" and rejected the invitation.
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Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas rejected the White House's invitation to join President Donald Trump on Wednesday during his visit to El Paso, where he is expected to address Saturday's shooting that killed at least 22 people.

Escobar, a freshman Democrat, tweeted on Tuesday that she "requested a phone call" with the president to share stories from her constituents affected by the shooting. Trump's rhetoric about Mexicans and immigrants is divisive and hurtful, Escobar said, and she hoped to broach the subject with him during the call.

"My message would've been that he needs to understand that his words are powerful and have consequences," Escobar tweeted. "Using racist language to describe Mexicans, immigrants and other minorities dehumanize us. Those words inflame others."

Organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center have pointed out similarities between Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and a manifesto that authorities say was posted by the El Paso gunman shortly before the shooting; the FBI is investigating the document. The suspect in the shooting has been charged with capital murder.

Escobar said that Trump "has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us" and that she "asked for a call so I could say this to him over the phone and ask for a dialogue that could lead to healing."

Escobar said she was told Trump was "too busy" to have the discussion. She said she refused "to be an accessory" and rejected the invitation to join him on his Wednesday visit.

She said that instead of accompanying Trump, she would be "spending time with fellow El Pasoans who are dealing with the pain and horror left in the wake of this act of domestic terrorism fueled by hate and racism."

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Trump's scheduled visit to El Paso has sparked controversy, and protests are expected. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate who previously represented the congressional district, tweeted on Monday that Trump "helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible," adding that the president "should not come to El Paso."

"We do not need more division. We need to heal," O'Rourke tweeted. "He has no place here."

Meanwhile, El Paso's Republican mayor, Dee Margo, who has disagreed with Trump on US-Mexico relations, has said it is his "formal duty" to welcome the president "in an official capacity."

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