The Republican mayor of El Paso, Texas, said he told President Donald Trump that he’s presenting “misinformation” about crime in his city, and that Trump used a derogatory term to suggest he wasn’t a real Republican.
In an interview that aired on PBS, Mayor Dee Margo talked about the Aug. 7 private conversation he had with Trump after he visited the city in the wake of a mass shooting that left 22 dead.
“He said, ‘You’re a RINO [Republican in name only],’ and I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO,’” Margo told PBS’ “Frontline. “I said … ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did.’”
He added that Trump “kinda grinned” at the response.
The mayor said he was trying to debunk Trump’s false claim earlier this year that El Paso had one of the highest violent crime rates in the country until a barrier fence was built there.
“I said, ‘If you want to deal with immigration, the first thing you do is you have Homeland Security define what is a secure border and what they need in the way of resources to handle that,’” Margo said in the interview, adding that attempt to set the record straight on El Paso’s crime rate “seemed to resonate” with Trump.
“We are one of the safest cities in the country, but we have been before the fence went up,” Margo added. “It had a dramatic impact on petty crimes and automobile thefts … So it has benefited, but it had no direct impact on our overall crime rate.”
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