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Democratic Cong. Veronica Escobar Defends El Paso

Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar—She Calls Demagogue Donald Out for Lying About El Paso February 10, 2019

It’s a given. Demagogue Donald can’t tell the truth. Lying remains encoded in his DNA. Witness his 2/05/2019 State of the Union (SOTU) address before the House and Senate. For the first time since he took office, Donald faced a divided Congress, with Democrats running the House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sitting in back of him while he gave this speech. Donald was “surprised” that the new House Democratic majority did not constantly applaud him or objected to some of his off-the-wall (no pun intended) comments. Prior to his address, Donald claimed he would emphasize bi-partisan unity. One of his most “humungous” lies yet.

Donald’s super-partisan SOTU speech completely ignored his action in shutting down the government to get his ridiculous wall. This address was preceded by a private lunch with major network reporters. Trump then attacked the late Vietnam war hero AZ GOP Sen. John McCain for voting against repealing Obamacare. Donald stated that a book McCain had written before his death from brain cancer, “The Restless Wave,” had “bombed.” Another lie. After his passing, McCain’s book was ranked No. 2 on Amazon and No. 3 on Barnes and Noble. McCain’s daughter Meghan called Trump’s comments about her father, six months after his death, “pathetic.” She rightly stated that the greatness of her father’s legacy “haunts Donald (huffingtonpost.com, O’Connor, L., 2/05/19, usatoday.com, Hayes, C., 2/05/19).” Donald additionally called former VP and possible presidential candidate Joe Biden a “dumb person,” and Sen. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) a “nasty son of a bitch (huffingtonpost.com, 2/05/19).” What “bi-partisan” warm up for his speech.

At the beginning of his State of the Union address, Donald briefly touched on rejecting the “politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.” However, he quickly did a 180-degree pivot. In his words, “an economic miracle is taking place in the United States—and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way (cnn.com, Liptak & Diamond, 2/05/19).” Donald’s rhyming may sound cute, but sends a threatening message. “It’s my way, or the highway on bi-partisanship.” If Democrats “dare” to investigate me, they will be “destroying” our country. To paraphrase Joe Biden, Donald’s comments are “utter malarkey.” When Obama was President, the GOP never stopped its witch hunting “investigations” of him, his fellow Democrats, and Hillary, endlessly screaming “Benghazi.” Democrats, however, have plenty of legitimate reasons to investigate Trump and Company. These include, among others, his involvement with Russia, his shady business dealings, his tax returns, and his cruel policies of separating immigrant parents and children at the border. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is already investigating Trump on related issues, independent of any Democratic House committees. And who is starting wars? It’s Trump with his economic attacks on Canada, the European Union, and China over trade policies. Trump ridiculously stated that if he hadn’t been elected president, we would have been at war with N. Korea. No way, Donald. You were the one who ratcheted up tensions with N. Korea. Your first meeting with N. Korean dictator Kim Jon-un made you look naïve and hurt S. Korea. N. Korea is still continuing its nuclear build up and it is doubtful you will make any real breakthrough in your late February second meeting with this dangerous strongman.

Frankly, most of Donald’s address constituted recycling his campaign and administration speeches about how there is a “national emergency” at our southern U.S.- Mexican border, “fake news.” He talked again about immigrant caravans and MS-13 crime. He brought as guests to his speech people who had family members killed by illegals. If one could summarize his address in one phrase it was, “Build the wall,” a wildly unpopular proposal with the American public (60% opposition in the latest Gallup Poll). Donald argued that only he can “fix this,” a constant theme of his. In his words, “a proper wall was never built. I (read, Mr. Authoritarian) will get it built.” If there is no shutdown after 2/15/2019, count on Donald declaring a false “national emergency” to start wall building. Such an action will be rightly followed with years of litigation by people who will lose their land on the southern border.

One of the most blatant lies Donald told in his speech concerned the city of El Paso, TX. In arguing for the wall, Trump declared, “El Paso used to have extremely high rates of violent crime—one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.” Once again, Donald, you win the super-liar trophy. According to the NY Times fact check of Donald’s SOTU (State of the Union), El Paso was never one of the most dangerous U.S. cities. Crime has been declining in cities throughout the country and not just in El Paso, for reasons that have nothing to do with border fencing. In 2008, before El Paso’s border barriers had been completed, the city had the second lowest crime rate among more than 20 similarly sized cities. In 2010, after the fencing went up, El Paso still had the second lowest crime rate (See nytimes.com, fact check, 2/05/19). Upon hearing Donald’s cracks about crime in El Paso, Congressmember Veronica Escobar looked “visibly angry (nytimes.com, 2/05/19, remezcla.com, Simon, Y., 2/06/19).” She mouthed to colleagues who were looking in her direction, “Oh my God, oh my God.” Cong. Escobar then tweeted, “He lies. @POTUS is once again lying and using #SOTU address to spread falsehoods about our beloved city of El Paso .

Fact is that El Paso has been one of the safest cities in the nation long before the wall was built in 2008. #WallsDontWork, 6:48 PM –Feb 5, 2019.”

On 2/07/2019, Cong. Escobar penned a letter to Trump asking him to correct his SOTU remarks about El Paso and apologize to its residents (Melson, K., 2/07/19). Meet Cong. Escobar.

First-term Democratic Congressmember Veronica Escobar (49) presently represents TX’s 16th Congressional District (CD). The TX 16th includes the west TX city of El Paso and its El Paso and Hudspeth Counties suburbs. El Paso, located on the Rio Grande, faces the city of Juarez, Mexico. Downtown El Paso is a few blocks from the bridge to Juarez. The 2017 population of El Paso is 683,577. The U.S. metropolitan area of El Paso and Hudspeth Counties has a population of at least 844,818 (factfinder2.census.gov, Barone 14 Political Almanac). The El Paso/Juarez international metropolitan area covers over 2.7 million people and is the largest bilingual and binational work force in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s second largest bi-national community (nytimes.com, 3/28/17, webarchive.org, “El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces,” CQ 14 Political Almanac). The 16th CD is economically fueled by the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss and the Beaumont Army Medical Center. In addition, because of the 1990’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there is strong import-export trade that has increased traffic in ports, roads, and on trains. The 16th remains a hub for international business. Many of the 16th ‘s residents work in technical, manufacturing, and office support centers as well as in leisure and hospitality jobs. More than 325,000 people annually visit El Paso. The University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP) has more than 20,000 students (CQ & Barone 14). In 2010 and 2018, El Paso received an All-American City Award. Since 1997, El Paso has ranked in the top three safest large U.S. cities, way before the 2010 barrier was built (See texasmonthly.com, 2013).

Over 80% of the residents in the TX 16th CD are Hispanic. The most recent Cook PVI, Partisan Voting Index gives the TX 16th a deep “Blue” D+17 score (Cook Political Report, 4/07/17). Obama carried the 16th by 33 and 29 points in 2008 and 2012. Hillary clobbered anti-Hispanic Donald here by 40 points (Presidential Election Results). Donald won just 25.7% of El Paso County’s vote, the worst performance for a major presidential nominee in the region (huffingtonpost.com, Papenfuss, M., 2/08/19).

El Paso native Veronica Escobar grew up near her family’s dairy farm. She received a bachelor’s degree from Univ. of Texas El Paso (UTEP) and a Master’s from New York University, NYU (“The Hill,” 11/15/18, huffingtonpost.com, 9/08/17). She worked as a non-profit executive, a college instructor, and a communications director for the former Mayor of El Paso, Raymond Caballero (elpasotimes.com, 3/09/18, CQ 116th Cong. Early Guide). In 2010, she won election as a county judge in El Paso. She served from 2011-2017. In 2018, when 16th CD Dem. Cong. Beto O’Rourke ran for the U.S. Senate, Escobar went for his vacated congressional seat. After winning a crowded primary, Escobar trounced her GOP opponent by 41 points (CQ 116th Cong. Early Guide). Escobar stated that she was motivated to run for office by Trump’s hostile treatment of Latino communities and especially his pardon for cruel anti-Hispanic former AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio (Huffington Post, 9/08/17). In her campaign, Escobar spoke for compassionate immigration reform. She opposed Donald’s building a wall and his demonizing immigrants. She supported health care for all and promised to continue Beto O’Rourke’s work helping veterans (ballotpedia, Escobar). Along with 29th CD Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Escobar became the first Hispanic female to represent TX in the U.S. House (NBC News).

Cong. Escobar was always known as a strong progressive (Benson, E., texasmonthly.com, 1/2018). In the current 116th Congress, Rep. Escobar has never voted in line with Demagogue Donald’s positions (projectsfivethirtyeight.com). Dem. Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Cong. Escobar to two major committees, House Armed Services and Judiciary. On the House Armed Services Committee, Escobar will be in a crucial position to oversee and aid El Paso’s Fort Bliss. On Judiciary, Cong. Escobar will be able to work on immigration matters, a key issue for her and her border district. She will also be fighting for civil liberties and be involved in any issues involving the possible impeachment of Donald (See elpasotimes.com, Mekelburg, 1/16/19). Along with 13 other Congressmembers, Rep. Escobar sent a letter to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) acting Director Ronald Vitiello demanding an end to the practice of force-feeding detainees (KFOX14, Esquivel, E., 2/07/19).

On Monday, 2/11/2019, Demagogue Donald plans to hold a MAGA rally in El Paso pushing for his ridiculous wall. On 2/07/2019, Cong. Escobar, tweeted @vgescobar: “El Paso has great grassroots leadership that stands up for our community and defends the vulnerable. Can’t wait to hear about what they’ve got planned in the face of outright lies about us and cheap attempts to use our community as a political prop #ELPasoWasSafeB4TheWall.” Former Dem. El Paso Cong. Beto O’Rourke, now seriously considering a 2020 presidential run, plans to hold a protest march with members of local organizations at the same time that Trump is there. Earlier on that same Monday, O’Rourke, plans to join Cong. Escobar on a conference call to denounce Donald’s border wall (cnn.com, Bradner, E., 2/08/19). Kudos, Cong. Escobar! Keep up the good fight against bigoted Demagogue Donald.