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VICE News

Why El Paso Didn't Welcome President Trump's Thoughts And Prayers

People here feel Trump has changed the very nature of their city

by Evan McMorris-Santoro
Aug 8 2019, 2:44pm

EL PASO, Texas — President Trump spent Wednesday doing what presidents do after a mass shooting: traveling to the sites of shootings and offering the nation's condolences to the victims. But he was met with angry protests in both Dayton and El Paso, and in this particular border city, the standard presidential post-tragedy visit really wasn't going to cut it.

For many El Pasoans, the protest was about more than just the shooting. While they do want the president to "do something" about guns, like other Americans are pleading, El Pasoans also want Trump to stop doing what he's been doing to their city. People here feel he has changed the nature of their city by hardening the border, increasing immigration enforcement actions, and trashing the city in his public statements.

"He's constantly talked down about our community — in the media, at his [February] rally — that El Paso is super dangerous, that we're home to drug violence and cartel violence, and all of that stuff is not true," community organizer Sabrina Bustillos told VICE News. "We can put politics aside, but the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump has incited violence towards our community."

Bustillos and her group took the opportunity of Trump's visit Wednesday to host a rally to get out the vote — to get him out of office in 2020. We trailed her along the way.

This segment originally aired August 7, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.