President Trump And Beto O’Rourke Both Speak In The Same City, On The Same Night, Here’s What Happened
On Monday night, President Trump spoke to about 6,500 supporters in El Paso, Texas, in what is the first of many such rallies leading up to the 2020 election. His rallies, which mostly consist of his own supporters, are nothing new and have been a common sight since he took office. Yet, for Trump, Monday’s rally was different. Less than a mile away from his rally, El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who came close to unseating Sen. Ted Cruz in November, was the one stealing all the headlines.
It’s not every day that an ex-congressman can get under the skin of the president of the United States.
ICYMI: According to President Trump, 35,000 people turned up at his rally in El Paso, and only 300 went to a competing rally held by Beto O'Rourke. No official figures have been released, but it's unlikely the president is correct on this occasion https://t.co/WleqFbE37d pic.twitter.com/mnQ2St2tzS
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 13, 2019
O’Rourke, who has yet to announce a candidacy for president, held a rally aimed at promoting the reality of the situation at the border. He tried to debunk many of the claims Trump has made in the last few months arguing for his border wall.
“We are making a stand for truth against lies and hate and ignorance and intolerance. We are going to show the country who we are,” O’Rourke said at his rally. “We’re going to make a stand to ensure that we live up to our promise, to our potential, to our purpose as a country.”
There are substantive disagreements between both men and Monday’s dual-rallies showed these differences. For Trump, holding his rally in El Paso was strictly a political move because of its close location on the U.S.-Mexico border. For O’Rourke, it was an opportunity to spell the truth of what’s really happening in his home district’s backyard.
There were false claims of crowd sizes from the president.
El Paso police estimate a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 for the anti-Trump, anti-wall, pro-O’Rourke march and rally tonight.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 12, 2019
From the start, there was already misleading statements from President Trump about the size of his rally crowd. “We have, let’s say, 35,000 people tonight, he has 200 people, 300 people — not too good,” Trump said in reference to O’Rourke’s rally. He would later claim that the actual size was 10,000 people but in reality, the El Paso County Coliseum holds about 6,500 people. In comparison to O’Rourke, following a mile-long march, he drew at least 7,000 people at his rally.
Trump claimed El Paso had one of the highest rates of violent crime in America before a wall was put in place, after which it became one of the nation’s safest cities. That is inaccurate.
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At last Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the President claimed that El Paso had one of the highest rates of violent crime in America. Trump claimed that a barrier constructed at the border helped make El Paso one of the nation’s safest cities, El Paso’s mayor, Dee Margo corrected him. “El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US,” he tweeted. O’Rourke chimed in on Trump’s claims about El Paso and the effectiveness of a border wall.
“El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States of America,” he said. “Safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls. Secure because we treat one another with dignity and respect. That is the way that we make our communities and our country safe.”
According to Vox, El Paso has constantly had the second-lowest violent crime rate of similarly sized cities, a ranking it had both before and after a partial barrier was installed near the border in 2008.
“We have so much to give, so much to show the rest of the country,” O’Rourke said in a rebuttal the president. “Here, a city that has been one of the safest in the United States of America for 20 years and counting. … Walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”
While O’Rourke spoke about the things that unite Americans, President Trump used his rally to take aim at O’Rourke and fellow Democrats.
Beto O'Rourke speaks to cheering supporters through a fence. It doesn't get more symbolic than this. pic.twitter.com/CTnKThq2kh
— Roque Planas (@RoqPlanas) February 12, 2019
At his rally, President Trump took jabs at O’Rourke saying he is a “young man who’s got very little going for himself except he’s got a great first name.” He also used his rally to attack the media, which resulted in the attack of a cameraman, poke fun at the Green New Deal and falsely accuse Virginia Governor Ralph Northam of supporting the murder of newborn babies.
O’Rourke went the other direction as he spoke about how the great hopes he has for the country. He spoke about the reality of what many Americans are currently facing including rising health costs, economic disparity, and job opportunities. Whether O’Rourke will run for president or not, the truth is he has gotten the attention of President Trump. That is a fact.