US President Donald Trump is likely to receive a cool reception, at best, when he touches down in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, three days after a 21-year-old gunman who invoked the language of white supremacy killed 22 people and wounded 24 more in a suburban Walmart superstore there.
The president could also face protests in Dayton, Ohio, the location of the second of two mass shootings at the weekend, where nine were killed by a man who investigators said on Tuesday explored violent ideologies.
On Monday, Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic presidential 2020 contender, El Paso native and former congressman, said the president should stay away, saying flatly that Trump “has no place here”.
“He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday,” O’Rourke said, referring to anti-immigration sentiment expressed by the gunman, who is in police custody.
“He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal,” he added.
The congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who succeeded O’Rourke in representing the El Paso area in Congress, said that Trump was not welcome in El Paso.
Trump, who has not directly addressed the El Paso suspect’s manifesto and has deflected calls for enhanced background checks on members of the public buying military-style weapons, is on Wednesday expected to visit the sites of the El Paso massacre and, in Ohio, the city of Dayton, where another mass shooting occurred just 13 hours after the Texas tragedy, killing nine and injuring dozens.
Trump’s visit to El Paso, a majority-Latino city of 683,000 on the US-Mexico border , was confirmed by the Republican mayor, Dee Margo, at a news conference on Monday.
Trump has used previous visits to El Paso to advance his anti-immigration agenda. During this year’s State of the Union address, the president stated incorrectly that the city was “once considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities” until a border fence was erected. This year, Trump and O’Rourke held dueling rallies there.
But while Margo said he would welcome Trump in an official