Politics: Trump and O’Rourke Face Off in El Paso Over Wall - PressFrom - US

PoliticsTrump and O’Rourke Face Off in El Paso Over Wall

20:25  11 february  2019
20:25  11 february  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could

O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) said Thursday he would "absolutely" take down the border wall in El Paso, Texas, arguing that the structure has not made the city demonstrably safer. MSNBC host Chris Hayes posed a question from Rep. Dan Crenshaw about whether O'Rourke would get rid of the wall if he could "snap your fingers" and make it happen. "Yes. Absolutely. I'd take the wall down," O'Rourke said on "All In" during an interv iew near the border on Thursday. O'Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress for three terms, added that he believes city residents would pass a referendum to remove the wall if it were put up for a vote.

Trump and O’Rourke Face Off in El Paso Over Wall© Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters Migrants crossed a river near where a new section of border fence was being installed in El Paso. President Trump will visit El Paso on Monday.

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s confrontations with potential Democratic challengers in 2020 have mostly been limited to sniping on Twitter. But Monday night in El Paso, he will engage in his most direct conflict with a possible rival — former Representative Beto O’Rourke, a native of the city that shares a border with Mexico.

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Mr. Trump’s rally in El Paso is his most significant since the midterm elections that delivered the House of Representatives to Democrats. It will provide the president with a backdrop that he will use to again argue for a border wall to stop what he said is a surge of crime and drugs being brought into the country by migrants seeking illegal entry.

Beto O'Rourke to join march countering Trump's El Paso visit

Beto O'Rourke to join march countering Trump's El Paso visit Beto O'Rourke is set to counter President Donald Trump's visit to El Paso, Texas, on Monday by joining a one-mile march past Trump's rally and giving a speech across the street at about the same time the President plans to take the stage. As the former congressman from Texas weighs a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination -- he told Oprah Winfrey this week that he'll decide by the end of the month -- he is participating in a protest against Trump's push for a wall along the southern border. The march, organized by Women's March El Paso, is being billed as a "March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies.

Mr. O’Rourke has been among those who have strongly rebutted the president’s case that El Paso serves as an example of where building a wall has indeed provided a solution to crime.

“If immigrants are good for the country, the border is secure and walls end lives instead of saving them, then why does the president try to scare us about immigrants and the border and take our land to build a wall we don’t need?” Mr. O’Rourke said on Twitter.

Mr. O’Rourke has also used Twitter to make his own case, fact by fact, that Mr. Trump’s argument is flawed and inaccurate.

Beto O'Rourke speaks at competing "March for Truth" as Trump holds Texas rally

Beto O'Rourke speaks at competing O'Rourke said marchers would meet "lies and hate with the truth and vision of the future from the U.S-Mexico border"

When and where?

Mr. Trump is scheduled to begin speaking at a Make America Great Again rally at the El Paso County Coliseum at 7 p.m. Mountain time (9:00 Eastern Time). Mr. O’Rourke and his supporters will meet up at Bowie High School at 5 p.m., then march to Chalio Acosta Sports Center, about a half-mile away. He will also begin speaking at 7 p.m.

What are the facts on the border?

During his State of the Union address last week, Mr. Trump falsely cited El Paso as an example of a city where building a wall worked to deter crime.

“The border city of El Paso, Tex., used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and was considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country,” he said.

Beto vs. Trump: Who Had the Bigger Crowd?

Beto vs. Trump: Who Had the Bigger Crowd? The answer is not clear, with no official count at either rally, but the president's crowd appears to have been larger based on estimates.

But before the border barriers were completed in El Paso, in 2008, the city had the second-lowest violent crime rate among more than 20 similarly sized American cities. In 2010, after the fence construction, it retained its ranking. Also, El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

How directly will Trump go after O’Rourke?

Mr. Trump relishes political combat and this is the first time in the 2020 election cycle that he will be on a dueling, if separate, stage with a Democrat who may try to unseat him. Mr. O’Rourke told Oprah Winfrey that he would made a decision about running for president by the end of February.

It seems a near certainty that Mr. Trump will try to counter the protest in El Paso and its unofficial leader, Mr. O’Rourke. How frontally he criticizes the former congressman, and whether he tries to brand him with a derogatory nickname will be measures of how seriously he takes Mr. O’Rourke’s potential candidacy.

What tone will O’Rourke use, fighter or healer?

Mr. O’Rourke is the near opposite of the president in tone. During his losing senate campaign last year, he offered himself as candidate who could bridge divides and wanted to go beyond convenient party labels. That modulated approach is seen as part of his larger appeal. He was able to attract donations nationwide and build a following even as he lost his race.

Now he will face a different test in an opponent whose first instinct is to fight.

How will television cover the event?

Cable news outlets are expected to cover the rallies and the president almost always takes priority over the words of someone who does not even hold elective office. This time may be different. At minimum, prepare for a split screen approach that will offer the freshest soundings of what promises to be a long and bitter presidential campaign.

Beto heading to Wisconsin and Illinois as 2020 decision nears.
He will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event. O'Rourke's meeting with students is closed to the press, a spokesman confirmed. Wisconsin has become a top priority for Democrats after President Donald Trump in 2016 became the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since 1984.

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