Published:  12:30 AM, 09 August 2019

Trump feuds as he visits El Paso

Trump feuds as he visits El Paso A placard in El Paso mocking Trump reads "Humans and Inhuman". -Reuters

US President Donald Trump has visited two cities reeling from mass shootings but the trip saw protests and feuds with local politicians. Trump called for unity in the wake of the attacks in Texas and Ohio and spent Wednesday visiting emergency responders and survivors. But criticism over his rhetoric and lack of action on gun control did not go away.

In El Paso, Texas, some protesters carried signs saying "racist, go home". There were similar scenes in the other city he visited, Dayton, in Ohio. Supporters of President Trump also took to the streets.

In total 31 people died in the attacks in El Paso and Dayton, which took place within hours of each other. Trump and his wife Melania were met at the airport by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo before being driven away.

They spent more than an hour at the city's University Medical Center talking with staff and victims before travelling to the emergency operations centre. Some protesters along the route held placards reading "Go home. You are NOT welcome here!" and "Trump hatred, racism not welcome here".

The Democrat congresswoman who represents El Paso, Veronica Escobar, refused to meet him, saying his "racist and hateful words & actions" had caused pain to her community and her country.

She and Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso native, attended a rally where O'Rourke said the president was "vilifying" immigrants. Trump has mocked O'Rourke's "phony nickname" and was told him to "be quiet" before the trip.

The El Paso shooting, which left 22 people dead, is being treated as a possible hate crime. Much of the city identifies as Hispanic and the suspect is thought to be the author of a text posted online which said "this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas".

The text echoed some of the US president's language, with Trump having frequently used the term "invasion" to describe the situation on the US-Mexico border.

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