Beto O’Rourke has announced he is planning to speak at a march Monday evening less than five kilometres away from U.S. President Donald Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas.
The march is organized by Women’s March El Paso and is called the “March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies,” according to its Facebook page.
O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, is set to speak at 7 p.m. E.T. — the same time Trump will take the stage at El Paso County Coliseum.
“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,” O’Rourke said in a statement.
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Former Democratic congressman O’Rourke lost to Ted Cruz in the U.S. midterm elections in November in the race for Texas’ Senate seat, but gained notoriety for his charisma and success in the historically Republican state.
There is speculation O’Rourke might enter the race to be the Democratic candidate for president. He said he will announce whether he will run this month.
Trump highlighted El Paso in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, using it as an example of why the U.S. needs a border wall, saying that the city’s “powerful barrier” had cut crimes.
His rally on Monday is intended to show why he is demanding more than 100 miles of new walls — at a cost of $5.7 billion — along the 1,900-mile U.S. border.
But while Trump said the barriers in El Paso turned it from one of the U.S.’s most dangerous cities to one of its safest, the numbers show that isn’t true.
El Paso had a murder rate less than half the national average in 2005, a year before the most recent expansion of its border fence.
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In an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier in the week, O’Rourke said Trump’s call for a wall is a “racist response to a problem we don’t have.”
“It seeks emotionally to connect with us, with voters, to stoke anxiety and paranoia, to win power over ‘the other’ on the basis of lies that vilify people.”
-With files from the Associated Press