Beto O'Rourke to join El Paso anti-Wall march to counter Trump rally

By Caroline Linton

/ CBS News

Potential 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke will speak at a march Monday in his hometown of El Paso against President Trump's proposed border wall, O'Rourke said Friday. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and O'Rourke is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m., the same time Mr. Trump's "Make America Great Again" rally is set to start.

"While some try to stoke fear and paranoia, to spread lies and a false narrative about the U.S.-Mexico border and to demand a 2,000 mile wall along it at a time of record safety and security, El Paso will come together for a march and celebration that highlights the truth," said the statement from O'Rourke's office.

The rally will be held across the street from Mr. Trump's rally, his first "Make America Great Again" rally of 2020.

In the State of Union on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said "considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities " until a border wall was built in 2009. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities," Mr. Trump said.

Beto O'Rourke: I will make a 2020 decision by the end of February

Many in El Paso have criticized this characterization, including County Sheriff Richard Wiles, O'Rourke's successor U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar and O'Rourke himself. While all three are Democrats, El Paso is a Democratic stronghold — just 25.7 percent of the county voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, according to The Washington Post.

O'Rourke posted a rebuttal to Mr. Trump's remarks on Medium, where he frequently blogs. "Monday we will welcome the President to one of the safest cities in the United States," O'Rourke wrote. "Safe not because of walls, and not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants. Safe because we are a city of immigrants and because we treat each other with dignity and respect."

O'Rourke represented El Paso in Congress for six years until he launched a longshot Senate campaign against Republican Ted Cruz. The race gathered national attention and O'Rourke shattered fundraising records, but he still lost in November. A documentary called "Running with Beto" about O'Rourke's Senate bid will premiere at South by Southwest in Austin in March, and will air on HBO in the spring, HBO said on Friday.

Although O'Rourke told "60 Minutes" before the race "win or lose, I'm not running in, in 2020," he has since changed his mind. He told Oprah Winfrey earlier this week he will make a decision about running by the end of February.

Other high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, have already announced they are running for president.

First published on February 9, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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