Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas) tore into President Donald Trump’s fake narrative that U.S. border towns are lawless frontiers, declaring that they’re in fact “safer than any city the president has ever lived in.”
The border town of McAllen, Texas (population 145,000), in Gonzalez’s district didn’t have a single homicide last year, the congressman pointed out in an interview Saturday on MSNBC.
“The reality is McAllen is one of the safest cities in America,” Gonzalez said. “In fact, we’re the seventh safest city in America. We had zero murders the year of 2018.”
He added: “I can assure you McAllen is safer than any city the president has ever lived in. It’s much safer than New York City, it’s much safer than Washington, D.C. I could walk around the middle of the night in the city of McAllen without a single threat … this campaign rhetoric that has continued for two years really needs to stop. People need to look at FBI stats and reality.”
Gonzalez encouraged Trump to visit cities that actually have high crime rates, naming Detroit and Little Rock, and “spending efforts to … lower crime rates in areas that really need it.”
A major report on crime in Texas Monthly in 2015 deemed the border towns of the Rio Grande Valley as “extremely safe.” Border counties, regardless of population, have lower rates for homicides, violent crime and property crimes than non-border counties in the nation, according to FBI crime statistics for 2017.
Gonzalez said that Trump’s “rhetoric is based on fallacy that he’s fed to his right-wing base that seem to eat it up.”
The congressman’s comments are part of a rising tide of Trump administration criticism along the American border from residents angered by the president’s characterization of their cities as dangerous.
In his State of the Union address, Trump called El Paso, Texas, one of the nation’s “most dangerous” cities — until a border barrier was built. El Paso has actually been one of America’s safest cities over three decades, according to crime statistics. The border barrier was built in 2008. El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, called Trump’s statements “falsehoods” that he’s using in an “attempt to build a 2,000-mile wall.”
Trump is speaking at his first campaign rally in El Paso on Monday. A major protest headlined by former hometown Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke and the Trump baby blimp is planned for the same time.
Check out Gonzalez’s interview in the clip above. He speaks about border-town safety at :47 and Trump living in far more dangerous cities at 3:00.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.