“With the eyes of the nation upon us, all of us collectively are going to make our stand, right here in one of many most secure cities in the USA of America — protected not due to partitions, however despite partitions,” the previous Texas congressman informed a sprawling crowd of hundreds that had stuffed an outside baseball discipline after marching a mile. “We deal with one another with dignity and respect. That’s the means we make our neighborhood and our nation protected.”
The subtext of the day was O’Rourke’s potential run for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination and the chance to tackle Trump in a normal election. As he weighs coming into an already crowded discipline, Monday was a check of O’Rourke’s skill to confront the President with a nationwide viewers — together with Democratic major voters who polls have proven are notably involved about electability in selecting their nominee.
O’Rourke’s occasion was so near Trump’s that “God Bless America” could possibly be heard blaring over the close by loudspeakers. Trump took the stage simply as O’Rourke wrapped up, and his speech was audible as O’Rourke’s supporters left the ball discipline.
The previous Texas congressman was on clearly on Trump’s thoughts. At his rally, the President known as O’Rourke “a younger man who has obtained little or no going for himself besides he is obtained an awesome first identify.”
Trump mocked O’Rourke’s current Senate loss in Texas — during which he raised a record-shattering $80 million and misplaced by three share factors — saying the previous congressman had simply “misplaced an election to Ted Cruz.”
“You are alleged to win with the intention to run,” Trump stated.
O’Rourke has stated he’ll make his thoughts up a couple of presidential bid by the top of the month however would not focus on his plans Monday evening. As an alternative, he sought to steer the main focus to his border metropolis’s opposition to Trump’s requires a wall separating the USA and Mexico.
He referred to “the President” a number of instances, however by no means used Trump’s identify. He highlighted Trump’s 2015 feedback about Mexicans being “rapists” and “criminals,” telling the gang that immigrants commit crimes at lower-than-average charges.
Warning of a technique Trump might search to avoid Congress to fund the development of a border wall, O’Rourke informed the gang that “we stand towards nationwide safety declarations that permit the President to subvert an equal department of presidency.”
“Partitions don’t save lives. Partitions finish lives,” he stated. He highlighted nonprofits and activist teams in El Paso that assist immigrants instantly upon their arrival in the USA, and stated El Paso is not any extra protected on account of the border wall constructed there in 2008.
“We stand for America and we stand towards partitions,” he stated. “We all know there isn’t any cut price during which we are able to sacrifice a few of our humanity to achieve just a little extra safety.”
O’Rourke’s speech got here after he led a one-mile march protesting Trump’s requires a border wall. It started at Bowie Excessive Faculty and, because the solar set, moved previous the venue the place Trump supporters have been lined as much as get into the President’s speech — with a fence separating the USA and Mexico on marchers’ proper aspect the complete means.
“I’m so happy with what El Paso is doing proper now. We now have determined that nobody will inform our story however us, and that story is highly effective, it is optimistic — it’s the fact in face of those lies,” he stated in a four-minute speech earlier than the march started.
Dozens of chants urging O’Rourke to run for president broke out earlier than and in the course of the march.
“Beto, run for president, buddy,” one man leaned in to say as they walked.
“Thinkin’ about it, thanks,” O’Rourke responded.
O’Rourke’s spouse Amy and his three youngsters have been with him Monday evening. Certainly one of his two sons rode on his shoulders throughout a part of the march.
Amid the chaotic scene, O’Rourke at one level leaned in to his sons.
“Let’s bear in mind this second,” he stated. “It is fairly wild.”
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.