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Too close for comfort: Trump, Beto O'Rourke hold dueling El Paso rallies

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Through Dareh Gregorian

President Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke are talking not up to 880 yards — however worlds aside — from each and every different on Monday night time.

And hours earlier than the dueling El Paso occasions, the president began in on his doable 2020 challenger.

“We’ve got a line this is very lengthy already, I am imply you spot what is going on,” Trump informed journalists in Washington earlier than departing for Texas, relating to other folks ready to get into his “Make The us Nice Once more” marketing campaign rally. “And I perceive our competitor’s were given a line too, however it is a tiny little line. In fact (the media) make it sound like they have got extra other folks than we do. That is not going to occur.”

Trump is predicted to reiterate his name for a wall or barrier at the southern border and echo the statements he made in his State of the Union cope with ultimate week.

“The border town of El Paso, Texas, used to have extraordinarily prime charges of violent crime — one of the most best within the nation, and thought to be one in every of our country’s most deadly towns,” Trump stated then. “Now, with an impressive barrier in position, El Paso is one in every of our most secure towns.”

Not up to a part mile clear of Trump, O’Rourke, the previous El Paso congressman and conceivable 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, answered on the “March for Reality: Forestall the Wall, Forestall the Lies.” The march will result in a rally the place O’Rourke stated citizens will “rejoice our group” and “inform the real tale concerning the border.”

“Whilst some attempt to stoke worry and paranoia, to unfold lies and a false narrative concerning the U.S.-Mexico border and to call for a 2,00Zero mile wall alongside it at a time of report security and safety, El Paso will come in combination for a march and birthday celebration that highlights the reality,” O’Rourke’s place of work stated in a remark ultimate week.

“No one tells our tale higher than we do,” O’Rourke informed NBC Information in El Paso simply forward of the Trump rally. “It’s extremely necessary that this group get up to be counted, to inform the tale and to ensure that we set the report immediately. That that is, as you recognize, a march for reality…we’re right here to practice the lead of this nice group and ensure the rustic sees us at our highest.”

Requested how he’d reply if the president known as him names at his Monday night time tournament, O’Rourke laughed. “I in point of fact don’t care about that,” he stated.

On their Fb web page, organizers recommended attendees to “Put on white,” Attempt to carpool or use rideshare,” and “Carry a good poster.”

The march will continue alongside a piece of fencing earlier than finishing in a rally on the Chalio Acosta Sports activities Middle, not up to 880 yards from the 11,00Zero-seat El Paso County Coliseum, the place Trump is slated to talk. A big “End the Wall” banner was once being hung within the coliseum Monday morning.

Professional-Trump distributors had been arrange around the side road Monday morning from the place O’Rourke might be talking, however the space is not large Trump nation. Trump gained Texas via 9 issues within the 2016 election, however he misplaced El Paso County via 43 issues — 69 p.c to 26 p.c.

Organizers had been nonetheless expecting a large Trump crowd, and rankings of other folks had been camped out in line greater than 12 hours earlier than the rally was once set to start out.

The president’s commute is designed to rally public strengthen for his name for a wall alongside the southern border. Democrats have refused his call for for $five.7 billion in investment for the wall, which Trump had stated throughout the presidential marketing campaign that Mexico would pay for. The deadlock helped result in the longest shutdown in executive historical past — and has stoked fears the federal government may close down once more after Friday, when the present spending deal expires.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, speaks at a marketing campaign rally in Austin on Sept. 29, 2018.Drew Anthony Smith / Getty Pictures document

Trump has pointed to El Paso as evidence that “partitions paintings,” and stated that the barrier that was once constructed there in 2008 and 2009 reworked it from one of the most nation’s most deadly towns to one of the most most secure.

His marketing campaign put out a video on Monday that it stated featured El Paso citizens praising the wall. “They put the fence up and ever since then, the crime charge has long past down dramatically,” stated one.

Trump’s claims have resulted in bipartisan pushback from El Paso politicians, who pointed to stats that the town of 700,00Zero was once by no means one of the most nation’s most deadly — and it had already reworked itself into one of the most most secure by the point wall was once constructed.

“El Paso was once NEVER one of the most MOST bad towns in the United States. We‘ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted unlawful immigration and curbed illegal activity. It’s NOT the only deterrent. Legislation enforcement in our group continues to stay us protected,” Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, tweeted after the State of the Union.

The county commissioners handed a answer on Monday complaining that Trump had “incessantly made erroneous claims about america’ southern border, together with El Paso,” and pronouncing they are “upset via President Trump’s lies in regards to the border and our group.”

Violent crime in El Paso peaked in 1993, however has been minimize in part since, achieving its lowest level in 2006, earlier than the wall was once constructed.

There have been 19 murders and 1,819 irritated attacks within the town in 2017, consistent with FBI crime knowledge. The homicide charge is set part that of the nationwide moderate.

O’Rourke tweeted that “we will be able to meet lies and hate with the reality and a good, inclusive, formidable imaginative and prescient for the long run.”

Courtney Buble and Ali Vitali contributed.

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