El Paso Mayor Dee Margo pushed back when CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed him to criticize President Donald Trump in the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in his city.
After a brief summary of the events that occurred, Tapper noted that many who were out shopping when shots rang out in El Paso were going about their preparations for the upcoming school year. (RELATED: 20 People Dead After El Paso Shooting, Governor Says)
“It was a normal Saturday, preparing for the school year to begin,” Margo confirmed. “I mean, this will not define us. It’s a tragedy that we had never experienced. And I hope to never, ever experience again. None of us have been prepared for it. At least our law enforcement was, but no. We’re going to have to deal with this. It’s not going to get any —I don’t think anything is going to be easier until after we — or start passing until we conduct these 20 funerals.”
Tapper then turned the topic to the manifesto that has been attributed to the alleged shooter, asking whether the president’s rhetoric played a role in the shooting.
“Former congressman from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, said that the president’s rhetoric is make things worse and creating an atmosphere of violence. Do you agree?” Tapper asked. “The things that the president says about immigrants?”
“I’m not qualified to talk on that. I’m not a talking head,” Margo responded. “I’m focusing on El Paso, the 20 deaths, their families and this community, how we can come together and not be victimized by this. This will not define us. We’re a unique region that’s been here 350 years. There’s families on both sides, commerce on both sides. We’re almost 2.5 million people and our average age is 32. This will not define us.”
Tapper tried a different tack, asking a more general question about white nationalism and whether that was part of the problem.
“Texas land commissioner George P. Bush said in a statement that, quote, white terrorism is a, quote, real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat. Do you agree that white terrorism is a threat to the United States?”
Margo again pointed the focus back to his community and the job at hand, saying, “Jake, I’m not qualified to respond to that any more than the previous question. I’m focusing on El Paso. There’s evil in this world and it’s unfortunate.”