Trump Called El Paso Mayor a ‘RINO’ for Contradicting Him About City’s Crime Rate

Trump Called El Paso Mayor a ‘RINO’ for Contradicting Him About City’s Crime Rate

No one likes to learn they are wrong about something. And no one likes it less than Donald Trump.

Which is likely why the president called Dee Margo a “RINO” after the mayor of El Paso told Trump he was badly misinformed about the effect a border fence erected in 2009 had on crime rates in the city.

The conversation occurred last week when Trump visited El Paso in the wake of a white supremacist massacring 22 people at a Wal-Mart in the city. But its roots go back to Trump’s State of the Union address in February.

In that speech, the president had claimed El Paso had “extremely high rates of violent crime” until the bulk of the barrier fence had been completed a decade ago. Margo had started pushing back on the talking point almost immediately. That led Trump to say at a rally in El Paso not long after his State of the Union speech that the mayor was “full of crap.”

Frontline interviewed Margo for an upcoming documentary, during which the mayor recounted the post-shooting conversation:

“He said, ‘You’re a RINO [Republican in name only],’ and I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO… I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did.'”

Margo believes his assertions that El Paso had not been the victim of a huge crime wave pre-fence and that a border wall is not a “panacea” seemed to resonate with the president. Though anyone who has followed Trump’s presidency has heard that before.

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Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.