CNN host Jake Tapper said Monday that Donald Trump was holding a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, as part of an effort to spread a “falsehood” about how barriers reduced crime in the city.
“The president is lying to you to get his border wall,” Tapper said on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
His comments came about a week after Trump in his State of the Union address used the border city of El Paso as an example for why walls worked.
“El Paso used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities,” Trump said. “Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”
Tapper called out the remarks, saying that Trump is using a “false story that the barriers built in El Paso are exhibit A for why he should get the full $5.7 billion he’s demanded for a border wall.”
“Here’s the problem. Whatever your position on border barriers or a border wall, the case the president lays out about El Paso is simply false,” he said. “El Paso has never had ‘one of the highest rates of violent crime in the entire country,’ according to FBI data.”
Tapper goes on to detail crime data in the city and how it peaked in 1993 before falling about 60 percent over the next 13 years. A fence wasn’t installed in the city until 2008.
Tapper later notes the criticism Trump has received from local officials in El Paso, such as Mayor Dee Margo (R). Margo said Trump’s remarks about the city were “not correct.”
Tapper acknowledged that “Customs and Border Patrol officials would like more barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“That’s not in dispute,” Tapper said. “But the president wants to depict undocumented immigrants as hordes of almost entirely violent criminals, which is not true. So he makes claims that are also not true.”