During his visit to El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump may have to reckon with an uncomfortable situation: His reelection campaign still hasn’t paid back its sizable debt to the city after Trump held a rally there in February.
El Paso city council member Alexsandra Annello confirmed to TPM on Tuesday that the campaign’s debt of $470,417.50 for rally security, maintenance, and transportation expenses remains unpaid.
The city sent a letter on May 23 warning the campaign that its repayment was “extremely past due.” According to Annello, the campaign still hasn’t responded to El Paso’s reminders, despite plans for Trump’s return to the city.
Trump plans to visit El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday following a pair of mass shootings in the cities over the weekend that led to 31 deaths.
Annello estimated that the President’s visit will double what he already owes El Paso.
“More than a monetary cost, there’s a real emotional impact that this is having on our public servants,” Annello said.
“Our police officers have not stopped for the past three days, our firefighters haven’t stopped, our director of our health department has been running a reunification center telling people their family members have passed,” she continued. “And now they’re expected to jump up and do all of this work again without having had the time to process this themselves.”
Annello told TPM she “absolutely” agrees with former Rep. and current Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), who both said that Trump’s visit to their home city isn’t welcome.
“I think people are still really angry, and they’re angry at the President for his role in the shooting,” she said. “I think it’s really disrespectful to this community for him to show up like this.”
The councilwoman told TPM that the community will greet Trump with a public celebration of Mexican culture, including mariachis, traditional clothing, and food.
“We’re going to be as Mexican as we can possibly be,” Annello said. “And that’s what we’re going to show while he’s here because that’s what our community is. We’re not going to stand back and let his rhetoric continue, or stop who we are.”