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

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, participates in an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019.  REUTERS/Loren Elliott


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

By Tim Reid and Roberta Rampton

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.

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 mentioned was a harmful place earlier than it had a border fence.

“We stand for America and we stand in opposition to a wall,” O’Rourke advised 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 advised his supporters that O’Rourke had “little going for himself, though he is received an incredible first title.”

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

He mentioned that O’Rourke’s rally was smaller than his, and that was a foul signal: “Which may be the top 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 Occasions reported. Police estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 attended the O’Rourke march and rally, the newspaper mentioned.

As the 2 males spoke, U.S. congressional negotiators mentioned they’d reached a tentative deal to attempt to avert one other partial authorities shutdown. Aides mentioned it didn’t comprise the $5.7 billion Trump wished 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. Large banners at his rally learn “End The Wall.”

Nationwide polls present the wall isn’t standard with the vast majority of voters. A Reuters/IPSOS survey discovered 43 % of the U.S. public supported further border fencing.

Trump mentioned he had heard a few potential deal in Washington earlier than he took the stage, however added: “Simply so – we’re constructing the wall anyway. Perhaps progress has been made – perhaps 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 appeared like a marketing campaign speech. He decried the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant youngsters from their mother and father on the border.

He mentioned Dreamers – undocumented individuals dropped at the USA 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’ve got an opportunity to inform him and the nation that immigrants commit crime at a decrease price than Individuals who’re born on this nation,” he mentioned 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 mentioned, referring to a Democratic proposal within the Washington talks to decrease the cap on detentions of felony aliens by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Below Monday’s tentative settlement, the cap would seemingly keep across the identical as in earlier years, a congressional aide mentioned.

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

O’Rourke advised Oprah Winfrey final week he would make a last determination about operating for president by the top 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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