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11 February 2019, 21.11 GMT / Updated on 11 February 2019, 21:25 GMT
From Dareh Gregorian
President Donald Trump and Beto O & # 39; Rourke speak less than half a mile – but worlds side by side – from each other on Monday night.
And hours before the events in El Paso began to duel, the president began with his potential 2020 challenger.
"We have a row that's been very long, I mean you see what's going on," Trump told reporters in Washington before they left for Texas, referring to people waiting for his "Make America Great Again" campaign collection to make. "And I understand that our competitor also has a row, but it's a small dash, of course (the media) makes it sound like they have more people than we do, that will not happen."
Van Trump is expected to repeat his call for a wall or barrier on the southern border and repeat the statements he made last week in his State of the Union speech.
"The border town of El Paso, Texas, once had extremely high numbers of violent crimes – one of the highest in the country and considered one of the most dangerous cities in our country," Trump said. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities."
Less than a kilometer from Trump, O & # 39; Rourke, former congressman of El Paso and possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, head the "March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies." The march will end in a rally where O & # 39; Rourke said that residents will "celebrate our community" and "tell the true story across the border."
"While some try to induce fear and paranoia, spread lies and a false story across the US-Mexico border and ask for a 2000-mile wall at a time of record security and security, El Paso will come together for a march and celebration that emphasizes the truth, "said O & # 39; Rourke & # 39; s office last week in a statement.
On their Facebook page, organizers encouraged participants to wear & # 39; Wear white & # 39; to wear, try to use carpooling or rideshare, "and" Bring a positive poster with you. "
The march passes part of the scenes and ends in a rally in the Chalio Acosta Sports Center, less than half a mile from the 11,000-seat El Paso County Coliseum, where Trump is about to speak. A large & # 39; Finish the Wall & # 39; banner was hung in the coliseum Monday morning.
Pro-Trump vendors are set up on Monday morning across the street from where O & # 39; Rourke will speak, but the area is not a big Trump country. Trump won Texas with nine points in the 2016 election, but lost El Paso County with 43 points – 69 percent to 26 percent.
Organizers were still anticipating a big Trump audience and dozens of people were starting to queue more than 12 hours before the rally began.
The president's journey was designed to gather public support for his call for a wall along the southern border. Democrats have turned down his claim for $ 5.7 billion in wall-building funding, which Trump had said during the presidential campaign Mexico would pay for. The impasse has contributed to the longest closure of the government's history – and has stopped the fear of the government after Friday, when the current spending period expires, to stop.
Rep. Beto O & # 39; Rourke, D-Texas, speaking at a campaign meeting in Austin on September 29, 2018.Drew Anthony Smith / Getty Images File
Trump has referred to El Paso as evidence that walls work & # 39; and said that the barrier built there in 2008 and 2009 has transformed it from one of the most dangerous cities in the country to one of the safest cities.
His campaign distributed a video on Monday stating that El Paso residents praised the wall. "They put the fence on and since then, crime has dropped dramatically," said one.
Trump's allegations led to a bipartisan pushback from El Paso politicians who pointed to statistics that the city with 700,000 was never one of the most dangerous cities – and it was already transformed into one of the safest by the time the wall was built.
"El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US. We have had a fence for 10 years and this has affected illegal immigration and criminal activity, but it is NOT the only deterrent, our safe," Mayor Dee Margo , a Republican, tweeted to the State of the Union.
El Paso was NEVER one of the most dangerous cities in the US. We have had a fence for 10 years and that has influenced illegal immigration and prevented criminal activities. It is NOT the only deterrent. Law enforcement in our community keeps us safe #SOTU
– Mayor Dee Margo (@mayor_margo) February 6, 2019
The county commissioners have Monday passed a resolution in which they complain that Trump constantly made inaccurate statements about the southern border of the United States, including El Paso & # 39 ;, and say they are disappointed by the lies from President Trump across the border and our community & # 39 ;.
The violent crime in El Paso reached its peak in 1993, but has since been halved and reached the lowest point in 2006, before the wall was built.
There were 19 murders and 1,819 heavily armed attacks in the city in 2017, according to FBI crime data. The number of murders is about half that of the national average.
Tonight, we will meet lies and hatred with the truth and a positive, inclusive, ambitious vision for the future from the border between the United States and Mexico. Join us:
️5: 00 March on Bowie HS
️6: 00 celebration of El Paso in Chalio Acosta Park
– Beto O & # 39; Rourke (@BetoORourke) February 11, 2019
O & # 39; Rourke tweeted that "we will meet lies and hatred with the truth and a positive, inclusive, ambitious vision for the future."