El Paso didn't want Trump there in the first place, and now his campaign won't pay the city nearly half a million dollars it owes.
The Trump campaign owes the city of El Paso, Texas, more than $470,000 for expenses related to one of Trump's hate-filled MAGA rallies that took place in February — and the campaign has so far refused to pay that debt, according to a Monday ABC News report.
The city of El Paso has not seen one penny from the Trump campaign, even though the city sent an invoice stating payment was due by April 26. The city sent another notice on May 23 warning the campaign that the payment was "extremely past due," and that a substantial penalty could be charged after another 30 days of nonpayment.
The bulk of what Trump owes is to reimburse the El Paso Police Department, accounting for $380,900 of the $470,000 bill. The rest is for other city services, such as the fire department and health department, that helped ensure Trump could hold his rally.
If the Trump campaign refuses to pay, the city of El Paso will be forced to absorb the cost using a contingency fund set aside for emergencies like natural disasters.
Trump used the El Paso rally to push for his racist border wall — an idea that did not sit well with residents of the city on the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Mexico is an economic and strategic ally of the United States, and an antiquated effort to place a barrier between us just won't work," Republican Jon Barela, CEO of an organization that promotes economic development across the U.S.-Mexico border, told the New York Times at the time.
Trump earned a negative reception from El Paso residents and businesses by spreading blatant lies about the city in the weeks leading up to his rally. In his State of the Union address, Trump falsely stated that El Paso "used to have extremely high rates of violent crime" until a border fence was erected there, attempting to use El Paso as a poster child for his claim that "walls work, and walls save lives."
"El Paso has never been one of the most 'dangerous cities' in the country, and our safety and security has long been a point of pride," Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), who represents El Paso, wrote to Trump in response.
When he arrived in El Paso, Trump lied about the size of the crowd that was there to greet him. Trump compared his crowd to that of Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic candidate running for president, who was holding a counter-rally in El Paso on the same night.
"A young man who's got very little going for himself, except he's got a great first name, he is, he has challenged us. So we have, let's say, 35,000 people tonight — and he has 200 people, 300 people, not too good," Trump said.
The El Paso Fire Department was forced to correct Trump, pointing out that the venue where he held the rally only held 6,500 people. Police also estimated that O'Rourke's rally had 10,000 to 15,000 attendees.
O'Rourke's campaign was also sent an invoice from the city of El Paso. According to ABC, the O'Rourke campaign paid its invoice in full and on time.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.