The Boston Globe - 08.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

A12 The Nation The Boston Globe THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019

center of the city. Condemna-
tion of the president’s anti-im-
migrant rhetorichas beenines-
capable, too, at a memorial
near the site of the shooting
wherepeoplehave stoppedby
the thousands — after work,be-
tween lunchbreaks, often in
scorching heat — to march and
pray anddropoff flowers,
stuffed animals,and balloons.
As Trumpandhis wife,
Melania, visitedsurvivors and
offeredwhat administration of-
ficialssaid was a message of na-
tional unity, they found a city
fighting throughgrief, and
some grappling with its identi-
ty as the epicenter of the na-
tion’s immigration battle. And
there were many whodidn’t
wanthim thereat all.
“I thinkhe shouldhave
waited,” said Aracely Calderon,
40, a native of neighboringCiu-
dad Juárez in Mexico and a re-
tail manager at a Fort Bliss
store, who cameto pay her re-
spects Wednesday eveningat
the memorial. “I just think it
was very disrespectful of him.”
The president’s visitto El
Paso came after a stop at the
site of anothermassshooting,
in Dayton,Ohio,that left an-
othernine deadjust hoursafter
the massacre in Texas. Against
the backdropof the Franklin
mountains, he jumped into his
motorcade with only a wave to
reporters after shakinghands
and briefly chatting with Texas
GovernorGregAbbott, Sena-
tors Ted Cruzand John Cornyn,
and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.
Speaking to reporters on the
tarmac,Margo said Trump
asked him how it was going: “I
told himit wasone day at
“Your thoughtson the presi-
dent coming to El Paso?” a re-
porter asked.
“Well, he is the president,”
Margo repliedas he walked
Deflecting questionsabout


the president’s racist comments
toward fourcongresswomen
and anti-immigrant rhetoric,
Cruzinstead shifted attention
to the shooterin Dayton, saying
he was a supporter of Demo-
cratic presidential candidates
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie
“Sadlyno party has a mo-
nopoly on hate, no party has a
monopoly on racism and bigot-
ry,” he said.
been grappling with new levels
of fear after the targeted at-
tacks, and the impact has been
acutely felt in El Paso, which is
80 percentHispanicand where
peoplelive fluidlybetween
Mexico and the United States.
Investigators say a whitesu-
premacist drovealmost 11
hoursfromthe Dallasarea be-
foreopeningfire insidethe
Walmart. Prosecutorsare in-
vestigating the crimeas an act
of domestic terrorismafter in-
vestigators linked an anti-im-
migrant and anti-Latino screed
to the 21-year-oldwhiteman
accusedin the attack.The post-
ing used someof the samerhet-
oric the president has usedre-
The presidentfurtheran-
gered someEl Pasoanson Mon-
day, whenhe condemned white
supremacy but omitted any ref-
erenceto Latinosand failedto
addresshis own incendiary lan-
Trumpdidn’t help matters
on Wednesday when— before
boarding Air Force One on his
way to Ohio — he took shotson
Twitter at his politicalfoes, The
New York Times,and “radical
left Democrats.” Amonghis tar-
gets was Democratic presiden-
tial candidate Beto O’Rourke,
an El Paso native and former
US representative,whomthe
president tauntedoverhis
O’Rourke shot backwith a
tweet of his own,“22 in my
hometownare deadafter an act
of terror inspired by yourrac-

ism.El Paso will not be quiet
and neither will I.”
At a tribute ceremony for
victimsat El Dorado High
Schoolon Wednesday morning,
studentcouncil memberssaid
they organizedthe event and
invited O’Rourke to speak be-
causethey wanted to showthe
nation a positive image of their
“I think it’s like you’re
damnedif you do, damnedif
you don’t,” senior class vice
president Khendra Jacome, 17,
said of her conflicting feelings
about the president’s visit.
“That is why I foughtso much
to get Beto O’Rourke herebe-
cause he’s from here, he knows
the type of community that we
have... so you know, I thought
let’s fight the negative withthe
After praying with students
and shaking hands, O’Rourke
told reporters he shot backat
the president “because he’s try-
ing to intimidate this commu-
nity, make us afraid of one an-
other, of our differences, of the
border, of immigrants,and we
will not stand down.”
He and US Representative
VeronicaEscobar, whosedis-
trict includes the Walmart
where the shooting took place,
later optedto attend the coun-
ter-rally at Washington Park.
By the time the sun beganto
set overthe mountains, the
crowds were back at the Wal-
mart, where white crosses with
the namesand photosof vic-
tims overlook a parking lot still
filledwithcarsleft behind.
Some have left placardsde-
nouncing the shooter and also
Trump for theirhateful views.
“If you only got to know our
people,our streets, our cul-
ture,” reads one sign, “then you
would see howpreciousour
city is.”

Jazmine Ulloacanbe reached

El Paso struggles to bind

open community wounds

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