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O’Rourke, Trump duel over wall, immigration in possible 2020 preview

O’Rourke, Trump duel over wall, immigration in possible 2020 preview

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EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – Potential White Home hopeful Beto O’Rourke accused Donald Trump of fear-mongering on Monday and the Republican president mocked the Democrat as a “younger man who misplaced” in dueling rallies that would preview the tenor of the 2020 election marketing campaign.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters earlier than an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

O’Rourke, who narrowly misplaced his 2018 bid for a U.S. Senate seat, accused Trump of stoking “false concern” about immigrants and telling “lies” about his hometown El Paso, which Trump stated was a harmful place earlier than it had a border fence.

“We stand for America and we stand towards a wall,” O’Rourke informed a crowd of a number of thousand supporters, many waving “Beto 2020” indicators and sporting “Immigrants Make America Nice” baseball caps. “Partitions don’t save lives, they finish lives.”

2 hundred yards away in El Paso County Coliseum, Trump informed his supporters that O’Rourke had “little going for himself, though he’s acquired an amazing first identify.”

“We’re all challenged by a younger man who misplaced an election to (Republican Senator) Ted Cruz,” stated Trump.

He stated that O’Rourke’s rally was smaller than his, and that was a foul signal: “Which may be the tip of his presidential bid.”

Reuters couldn’t confirm Trump’s declare that 35,000 individuals attended his rally, with about 10,000 inside. The town’s hearth division allowed solely the capability 6,500 inside, the El Paso Instances reported. Police estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 attended the O’Rourke march and rally, the newspaper stated.

As the 2 males spoke, U.S. congressional negotiators stated they’d reached a tentative deal to attempt to avert one other partial authorities shutdown. Aides stated it didn’t include the $5.7 billion Trump needed for his wall that triggered the shutdown final month.

Trump made clear on Monday he wouldn’t drop the demand for a border wall that delights his followers, first made in his marketing campaign within the 2016 election. Big banners at his rally learn “End The Wall.”

Nationwide polls present the wall is just not common with nearly all of voters. A Reuters/IPSOS survey discovered 43 % of the U.S. public supported further border fencing.

Trump stated he had heard a few potential deal in Washington earlier than he took the stage, however added: “Simply so you recognize – we’re constructing the wall anyway. Possibly progress has been made – possibly not.”


It was Trump’s first direct conflict with a possible 2020 rival, albeit on separate levels.

O’Rourke relished the prime-time nationwide platform, typically breaking into Spanish, in what gave the impression of a marketing campaign speech. He decried the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant youngsters from their mother and father on the border.

He stated Dreamers – undocumented individuals dropped at america by their mother and father once they have been youngsters – ought to be given citizenship, and their mother and father a pathway to citizenship.

“With a president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, we now have an opportunity to inform him and the nation that immigrants commit crime at a decrease price than People who’re born on this nation,” he stated to shouts of “Beto, Beto.”

Trump was urgent his case on immigration within the Democratic bastion of El Paso county, the place the inhabitants is over 80 % Hispanic.

“I’ll by no means signal a invoice that forces the mass launch of violent criminals into our nation,” he stated, referring to a Democratic proposal within the Washington talks to decrease the cap on detentions of prison aliens by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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Underneath Monday’s tentative settlement, the cap would possible keep across the similar as in earlier years, a congressional aide stated.

Though O’Rourke’s full-throated denunciation of the president gave the impression of he deliberate to run towards Trump, the two-time congressman declined to debate a possible bid when requested by reporters on a convention name on Monday.

O’Rourke informed Oprah Winfrey final week he would make a closing choice about operating for president by the tip of the month.

Reporting by Tim Reid in El Paso, further reporting by Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Andrew Hay; Enhancing by Colleen Jenkins, Invoice Tarrant and Sonya Hepinstall

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