After a gunman shot and killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart on Saturday, many lawmakers reacted, including those who represent the El Paso area, like State Sen. José Rodríguez. He reacted to the announcement that President Donald Trump would be visiting El Paso on Wednesday. Rodríguez says Trump should not make the trip. Rodríguez says he has heard that message from his constituents.
“People are angry about the vitriol and hateful rhetoric that he has spewed over the past several months against Mexicans, against immigrants, against Latinos in general,” Rodríguez says.
During the president’s last visit to the city, Rodríguez says, Trump criticized El Paso as an unsafe place, and was critical of the city’s mayor.
“My feeling is that he should stay away from El Paso. But as a state senator, looking after the interests of my constituents, if he’s coming to offer… assistance and resources, to the victims and the families.. and the community – if he’s coming to apologize to El Paso and to the Latino community in general, and if he’s coming to offer assistance, that’s a different matter,” Rodríguez says.
Rodríguez says he wants to work with state leaders, too. He would like to see action on gun violence prevention measures, for example. He says racially-charged rhetoric makes that difficult.
Some state lawmakers have called for a special legislative session to address gun violence. Rodríguez did not call for a special session directly, but says he is working with other El Paso lawmakers on the issue, and having discussions with state leaders, too.
“We’re continuing those discussions, because we want to make sure that if there is a special session, we can get some results – that there are some measurable improvements in our gun laws, for example,” he says.
Rodríguez wants lawmakers to address hate speech as well.
“I would like our state leaders to seriously consider using state resources – our DPS, our law enforcement community – to address hate violence in our state, and the rising white supremacy,” he says.
He also wants the state to provide assistance to the victims of the El Paso shooting.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.