The Trump campaign still owes the city of El Paso more than half a million dollars for services it provided in February for the president’s campaign rally, the Texas Tribune reported.
The city provided the Trump campaign with transportation and security services for the rally, and has been attempting to collect the debt of $569,204.63 for months. A May letter from the city to the campaign requested payment of the “extremely past due” debt, allowing for the possibility that “this may be an oversight on your part,” according to the El Paso Times.
“Our resources are really strained right now,” El Paso City Council member Alexsandra Annello said. “Our police and fire are exhausted, our health department had for three days straight been working with the reunification of families. As you see from the bill, these are the services required for a presidential visit. In addition to financial costs, our community and resources are already strained and do not need this extra burden.”
The Center for Public Integrity asserts that while it might be a good thing for presidential candidates to pay cities for services provided for events, unless there is a signed agreement to do so, they may not be legally bound to pay.
“But in many of these cases, there are no signed contracts between the municipal governments and the Trump campaign,” Dave Levinthal wrote. “The cities dispatched police officers to secure Trump’s events because they believed public safety required it —and the U.S. Secret Service asked for it.”
President Donald Trump plans to visit El Paso on Wednesday after 22 people were killed by a gunman in the city over the weekend. The president has been portrayed by numerous Democrats and media outlets as bearing responsibility for the mass murder because of his immigration rhetoric, which has led some officials to ask him not to come to El Paso.
“I would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection,” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D) said. “I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies because we’re not going to get past this until there’s acknowledgement from the very top that we need to heal.”
(H/T: The Hill)