EL PASO, TX — Barely a week has passed since the community of El Paso witnessed one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
And in their mourning, they also made it clear to President Donald Trump that he wasn’t welcome in their city — saying his rhetoric on race and immigration is partly to blame for the tragedy.
Fil-Am congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones, whose district includes El Paso, said this in an interview on Wednesday with MSNBC.
“We’ve got to remind people what’s possible. We don’t have to be living with this. We don’t have to live with a President, a commander in chief that spews white nationalist rhetoric. We don’t have to live in a world where people live in fear getting gunned down in churches, in schools and hospitals. We know the solutions, we just need moral leaders to get this done.”
Ortiz Jones, who lost to Republican Congressman Will Hurd by less than 1,000 votes in 2018, is running unopposed in the battleground district which stretches from San Antonio to El Paso along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hurd, the lone African American Republican in the House of Representatives announced that he is retiring to pursue other opportunities outside of Congress.
Ahead of the 2020 race, Ortiz Jones is showing her solidarity with Trump protesters, and particularly from the immigrant community. After all, she could represent a district that covers a third of the entire southern border.
She spoke about how Trump’s actions have a direct impact on El Paso.
“These are communities that are on the frontlines of his failed trade and immigration policies – the same communities that he doesn’t want counted on the census.”
“We need a president that recognizes the dignity and value of every single one of us in this country.”
And along with the El Paso protesters, Ortiz Jones is also calling for stricter gun control laws.
After all, the gunman in El Paso, as well as the shooters in recent massacres in Gilroy and Dayton all used semi-automatic weapons.
But Trump doesn’t think Congress will support banning assault rifles.
“Well I can tell you there is no political appetite for that at this moment if you look at—you can speak—-you can do your own polling and there is no political appetite for it from the standpoint of the legislature. But I will certainly bring that up, I’ll bring that up as one of the points. There’s a great appetite and I mean a very strong appetite for background checks.”
And with rising cases of gun violence continuing to dominate the national debate — Ortiz Jones hopes that for now the people’s anger would be enough to move lawmakers to take action.