The mayor of Tucson, Arizona, fired off a letter to President Donald Trump pointing out that his campaign still owes her city $80,000 for his last rally four years ago — even as he heads to his next potential superspreader event there on Monday.
Democrat Regina Romero — the first Latina to become mayor of one of the largest 50 cities in the nation — also urged Trump to adhere to Tucson’s mask mandate and follow social distance requirements to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Few masks and packed crowds are the hallmarks of a Trump rally.
“We do not want a superspreader event in our city,” Romero told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi in a Sunday interview, which can be seen above. “Tucsonans have worked too hard to bring down COVID-19 numbers.”
Romero’s letter, sent Friday, called on Trump to “ensure that our local ordinances are respected and followed during your event.” It would be “deeply unfortunate if one gathering jeopardizes all of the progress we have made thus far” in limiting the spread of the disease, she added.
“As elected officials, we have both the distinct opportunity and the responsibility to set an example for our constituents, especially when it comes to protecting public health,” she said.
There’s also the not-so-little matter of the $80,000 the Trump campaign still owes the city from a 2016 rally, Romero noted. In addition, the estimated cost of “public safety response services” for Monday’s rally is $50,000, she wrote.
Trump’s rally is “not an official visit; it’s a campaign visit,” and shouldn’t use taxpayers’ money, Romero told Velshi on Sunday. “We’re asking him to pay his bills.”
Trump’s campaign owes 14 cities across the nation some $1.82 million in unpaid bills for MAGA rallies stretching back to 2016, according to a report earlier this year from the nonprofit news operation Center for Public Integrity and NBC.
Local officials have complained that the Trump campaign’s unpaid bills are an especially difficult burden now as they grapple with the extra cost of battling COVID-19 as well as aiding residents suffering financial hardships due to the pandemic.
Though Trump won Arizona in the last election, his Democratic opponent Joe Biden currently has an edge in the polls. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R) is in a tough race against her Democratic rival, former astronaut Mark Kelly.
Romero told Velshi: “Latinos in Arizona will not forget” that the last time around, Trump “declared his candidacy by insulting Mexican Americans, by insulting immigrants and Latinos. We’re not going to forget that he called us rapists and murderers ... We’re not going to forget that he had children in cages 45 minutes away from us,” she said. “We’re very excited to vote this time around.”