‘How do you stop these people?’: Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric looms over El Paso massacre

By Philip Rucker August 4 at 5:04 PM
President Trump has relentlessly used his bully pulpit to decry Latino migration as “an invasion of our country.” He has demonized undocumented immigrants as “thugs” and “animals.” He has defended the detention of migrant children, hundreds of whom have been held in squalor. And he has warned that without a wall to prevent people from crossing the border from Mexico, America would no longer be America.

“How do you stop these people? You can’t,” Trump lamented at a May rally in Panama City Beach, Fla. Someone in the crowd yelled back one idea: “Shoot them.” The audience of thousands cheered and Trump smiled. Shrugging off the suggestion, he quipped, “Only in the Panhandle can you get away with that statement.”

On Saturday, a 21-year-old white man entered a shopping center in El Paso, according to police, and allegedly decided to “shoot them.” Inside a crowded Walmart in a vibrant border city visited daily by thousands of Mexicans, a late-morning back-to-school shopping scene turned into a pool of blood. Twenty people died, and dozens were wounded.