Trump called El Paso mayor Dee Margo a ‘RINO’, according to interview
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said President Trump called him a “RINO” during a visit to the city after the recent mass shooting, according to an interview the mayor gave Frontline.
“RINO” is a derisive term that stands for “Republican in name only.”
Margo said the conversation occurred in a private meeting following the mass shooting that took the lives of 22 people, when Trump traveled to El Paso to meet with city officials and families following the shooting.
It is the latest in a long history of tension between Trump and Margo, starting with Trump’s February State of the Union address. Trump, while promoting his plans for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, claimed that El Paso had a high violent crime rate until a section of barrier fencing was erected there in 2009. Trump called it “one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.”
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“Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities,” Trump said at the time.
Immediately, Margo renounced those claims as inaccurate.
“Our community has consistently been ranked as one of the safest in the United States,” Margo wrote in an opinion piece for USA TODAY.
Then, at a later rally in El Paso, Trump repeated the false claim. “I don’t care if the mayor is a Democrat or a Republican, they are full of crap when they say the border barrier didn’t help lower the crime rate,” Trump said.
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In his interview with Frontline, when asked if Margo had initiated the conversation about the border fence, Margo said Trump brought up the topic once again during the recent visit.
Margo described his reaction to the RINO moniker: “I said, ‘No, sir. I’m not a RINO.’ I said, ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by our attorney general. And that’s all I did.’”