Politics

Mayor Margo says Trump called him 'a RINO' in private El Paso post-shooting meeting

Trump calls mayor rino

EL PASO, Texas - The mayor of El Paso said President Donald Trump called him "a RINO" -- an acronym for "Republican in name only" -- in a private meeting during the President's visit to the city in the wake of the mass shooting that left 22 dead.

Speaking with "PBS Frontline" in an interview, Mayor Dee Margo said Trump made the jab during a private conversation when Margo pushed back on Trump's "misinformation" about crime in El Paso.

"He said 'you're a RINO.' I said 'no sir, I'm not a RINO.' I said, 'I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by (the Texas) attorney general, and that's all I did," Margo said.

He said that Trump "just kind of grinned" in response.

Margo told PBS he was trying to push back on Trump's claim that El Paso had a lot violent crime before a border barrier was erected -- an issue the two have traded barbs over before. In February, Margo told national media outlets that Trump was "wrong" to connect El Paso's drop in crime to a border barrier that isn't "continuous."

"The barrier went up, and the fence went up, and it's only about 10 miles long," Margo said. "And the total fencing in the El Paso sector is about 78 miles. And it's not continuous. Now it's part of the process for border security, but it's not the total panacea."

Margo told PBS, "We are one of the safest cities in the country, but we have been before the fence went up."

Police said they believe the suspect in the El Paso shooting -- which took place at the Cielo Vista Walmart store -- had written a document filled with hatred aimed at immigrants and Latinos, warning of a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas.

After the shooting occurred, Margo said "no one is prepared for this."

"It was an evil perpetrator from outside of El Paso and I do not believe an El Pasoan would've ever, ever done anything like this," he said. "It is not reflective of our nature and our culture, and we're a unique region."


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