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Donald Trump still owes city of El Paso $470,000 for February MAGA rally

Trump's campaign has been charged late fees by the city but still not paid

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas – President Donald Trump quickly pledged the full support of the federal government as city officials in El Paso responded to Saturday's deadly mass shooting at a Walmart. He now plans to visit the city Wednesday.

El Paso's Republican mayor, Dee Margo, said Trump was gracious during their phone call discussing the mass shooting at a Walmart in the border city and said the president would be welcome.

"I want to clarify for the political spin that this is the office of the mayor of El Paso in an official capacity of welcoming the office of the president of the United States, which I consider is my formal duty,” Margo said. 

But KSAT-TV reported El Paso officials have been critical of the president in recent months for his refusal to pay a $470,000 debt owed to the city for transportation and security services during his February campaign rally.

For six months, the city has sent Trump's campaign invoices for services provided by city departments -- including police, buses, the health department and others — but has not gotten a response, according to local media. 

"We are contacting you regarding the past due invoice(s) listed above," a letter sent by the city in May reads. "We realize this may been a oversight on your part; however, your account with the city of El Paso is extremely past due... Further, the city may choose to not enter into a contract with an individual that is indebted to the city for more than $100."

An El Paso TV station reported two weeks before the shooting that Trump still hadn't paid the debt. 

"It shows a lack of concern for the community and the tax paying voters of El Paso," City Councilwoman Alexsandra Annello told the local newspaper in June. "President Trump has in many ways, over the last year, put a financial burden on this community and has yet to show us the respect we deserve. It is clear that our borderland is not a priority of the president." 

If the bill isn't paid by Trump's campaign, the city has said it will absorb the costs. El Paso was overwhelmed with injuries, media attention and people looking to donate blood after the Saturday shooting. Doctors, police officers and other city staff are working around the clock to respond.

Trump brought thousands of supporters to the Sun City in February for a "Make America Great Again" rally. Former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke also racked up a bill for services provided for his counter-rally the same day. He paid his $21,000 bill earlier this summer, the El Paso Times reported.


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