El Paso mayor says Trump called him a 'RINO' in meeting

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

EL PASO, Texas -- The mayor of El Paso said President Trump called him a derisive term for Republicans deemed insufficiently conservative during a visit to the grieving city last week.

Mayor Dee Margo told PBS's "Frontline" in an interview published Wednesday that Trump called him a "RINO" in a private conversation after the president paid his respects to the victims of the shooting that killed 22 people and wounded dozens more earlier this month. The term stands for "Republican in Name Only."

Margo said Trump made the comment after he corrected the president's "misinformation" about the border city's violent crime rate -- an issue the pair has sparred over before.

In February, Trump falsely suggested a border barrier caused a sharp drop in El Paso's crime. But there's no proof that the city's decline in violent crime was due to the wall as it was in line with a similar trend nationwide.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Texas state police cars block the access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a shooting in El Paso, Tx., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

The conversation became public as police in El Paso are trying to identify a man who they say saved several lives during the mass shooting at a Walmart.

City police on Thursday shared a surveillance camera photo of the man, saying that he's considered a "hero" and that authorities need to interview him. Police said on Twitter that the man's actions were "critical and lifesaving" and that he's believed to have saved many lives during the mass shooting, including an infant's.

Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said police are not releasing details of what the man did because that information is needed to verify his identity.

Police have said Patrick Crusius, 21, confessed to driving to El Paso from a Dallas suburb to target Mexicans in the Aug. 3 attack .

On Thursday, a scheduled football game between an El Paso high school and the school Crusius attended was cancelled.

The game between Plano Senior High School and El Paso's Eastwood High School had been set for Sept. 6 in Plano. But officials in the North Texas school district said in a statement that they were canceling it because of safety concerns.

"What should be a celebratory event would be encumbered by safety concerns for the participants and fans of both teams," said Superintendent Sara Bonser.

A Plano police spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. However, police spokesman David Tilley said no credible threat had been made against the event.


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