Trump and Beto O'Rourke held rival rallies in Texas and they couldn’t have been any more different

Emma Snaith
Tuesday 12 February 2019 12:00
news

Donald Trump and potential Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke both held rallies in Texas on the same night in what has been described as a possible preview of the 2020 election.

The two events were held less than a mile apart in El Paso on Monday night, and as you would expect they couldn’t be any more different.

Just before the rallies got underway Democratic and Republican leaders reached an agreement to avoid another partial government shutdown by allocating $1.4bn toTrump’s border wall - far less than the $5.7bn he had demanded.

While Trump used his rally to push for the completion of the border wall, two hundred yards away O’Rourke declared that “walls do not make us safer”.

O’Rourke took to the stage before Trump and told the crowd:

We, together, we are making a stand for the truth against lies and hate and ignorance and intolerance.

A president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, we have the chances to tell him and this country that immigrants commit crimes, including violent crimes, at a lower rate than Americans who are born in this country

While Trump opened the first few minutes of his rally by taking a dig at O’Rourke.

He told his supporters that the former congressman has “very little going for himself, except he’s got a great first name”.

He added:

He challenged us. So we have 35,000 people tonight. And he has 200 people, 300 people – not too good.

That may be the end of his presidential bid.

But some people pointed out that Trump’s figures for the crowd numbers at the competing events weren’t accurate.

Trump went on to say that border fence built in El Paso in 2008 was important in reducing crime in the area.

But O’Rourke accused Trump of stoking “false fear” about immigrants and telling “lies” about his hometown El Paso.

He said that El Paso was one of the safest cities in America and “safe not because of walls but in spite of walls”.

FBI crime statistics appear to support this view, with the city hitting a record low crime level in 2006, two years before the construction of the fence that separates it from Ciudad Juárez.

But Trump didn’t just focus on the border wall during the rally, and took the opportunity to criticise the Green New Deal.

The plan was recently introduced by Democrats in the House of Representatives to tackle climate change and is strongly endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Of course, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quick to hit back at Trump over Twitter:

One of the more bizarre features of the night was that the Trump campaign decided to play his rally on a big screen behind Beto O'Rourke.

With O’Rourke expected to announce in the coming weeks whether he will run for president, the rival rallies could be a snapshot of what’s to come in the 2020 presidential election.

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