Trump, O’Rourke to face off at border as 2020 marketing campaign gears up

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The Washington Post


President Trump’s push to get Congress to fund his proposed border wall formally converged along with his 2020 reelection marketing campaign right here on Monday night time, because the president and potential Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke staged dueling rallies on this vibrant border metropolis.

The 2 occasions alongside the U.S.-Mexico border encapsulated the fierce debate over unlawful immigration and border safety that has been roiling Washington and is rising as a flash level within the presidential marketing campaign.

At first of a consequential week on the U.S. Capitol, the place congressional negotiators are in search of to keep away from one other authorities shutdown, the president tried to make use of the backdrop of O’Rourke’s hometown to argue {that a} wall would assist shield border communities.

With 4 days to go earlier than a partial authorities shutdown, Trump took Air Drive One to the border in an try to achieve a political benefit in an immigration debate that polls present he has been shedding.

In a meandering, 75-minute speech, Trump tried to color a picture of crime and lawlessness on the border whereas claiming falsely that violent crime went down in El Paso after a wall was constructed.

“We’d like the wall, and it must be constructed, and we wish to construct it quick,” he stated. Pausing to hearken to chants of “Construct that wall!,” Trump sought to right his supporters: “Now, you actually imply end the wall,” he stated, claiming that his promised border wall was already beneath building.

He referred to O’Rourke a number of occasions throughout the rally, calling the previous congressman “a younger man who’s bought little or no going for himself.” Trump claimed O’Rourke’s rally was poorly attended and that his 2018 election loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). ought to disqualify him from in search of greater workplace.

“How about Beto?” Trump stated, throughout a prolonged screed attacking Democrats over insurance policies he labeled as “socialism.” “Beto was defeated, too. However he suffered a fantastic defeat.’’

Hours earlier than the president arrived, hundreds of his supporters — lots of them sporting crimson marketing campaign hats — lined up outdoors the El Paso County Coliseum, the place they had been entertained by reside music. The early crowd was closely Hispanic — maybe probably the most various group the president has ever interested in a rally.

The gang included many native Republicans who stated they had been excited to see so many like-minded individuals collect in such a liberal space to help the president and the wall. There have been additionally Trump supporters who drove for hours to get to the rally from elsewhere in Texas and from New Mexico.

The rowdy crowd repeatedly burst into chants of “USA! USA!” and “Construct that wall!” to drown out a number of demonstrators who interrupted Trump a number of occasions.

A couple of mile down the street, a number of thousand demonstrators gathered at a highschool carrying American flags, rainbow banners, “Beto for President” flags, and flags for Mexico and Texas. There have been additionally indicators decrying Trump and his border wall — comparable to “Trump made America hate once more” — and chants from the group that included “Make tacos, not partitions!”

O’Rourke — who has disagreed vehemently with Trump’s depiction of El Paso as crime-ridden earlier than building of a border fence — has pointed to statistics displaying that the town was one in all America’s most secure lengthy earlier than the fencing was put in a decade in the past. Native officers even have stated that the bodily barrier has had no impression on the town’s comparatively low fee of violent crime.

The conflict in El Paso got here as Trump and a few of his Democratic opponents are partaking one another instantly within the run-up to a basic election that’s greater than 600 days away.

Trump traded phrases with Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) over the weekend as they introduced their presidential campaigns.

On Monday, the president sharply attacked Democrats, calling them “the social gathering of socialism, late-term abortion, open borders and crime.” For the primary time, he singled out the “Inexperienced New Deal” — a climate-change motion plan backed by a number of presidential contenders — saying it could nearly remove air journey.

“To pave the best way for socialism, Democrats are calling for enormous tax hikes and the entire elimination of personal well being care,’’ he stated. “They’re coming in your cash and so they’re coming in your freedom.”

Trump saved his most direct assaults for O’Rourke, who’s amongst a rising group of contenders instantly difficult Trump over immigration and different points.

One other authorities shutdown may additional harden battle traces. Key lawmakers stated that they had reached an settlement late Monday with sufficient time to safe Home and Senate approval this week and keep away from one other shutdown. Authorities funding for a number of businesses is ready to run out Friday. And it’s not clear whether or not Trump, who’s contemplating declaring a nationwide emergency over border safety, would in the end help any deal reached by Congress.

Trump has usually performed the position of spoiler after lawmakers attain bipartisan agreements, and he has been dismissive of the negotiations. On Monday, Trump stated he had not but heard the main points of the tentative settlement, however he stated it could not matter as a result of he would construct the wall a technique or one other.

“As I used to be strolling as much as the stage, they stated that progress is being made with this committee,” Trump instructed his El Paso crowd. “Simply so you understand, we’re constructing the wall anyway.”

Trump alluded to constructing the wall by declaring a nationwide emergency, which might set off government authority to reallocate federal funds for wall building, by telling rallygoers, “We’re setting the stage. We’re setting the desk.”

The president’s previous makes an attempt at compromise have been met with fierce backlash from conservative radio and tv hosts, whose opinions Trump follows intently. Trump was scheduled to do an interview with Fox Information’s Laura Ingraham whereas in El Paso.

Trump’s calls for for cash to construct a border wall, which prompted the final partial authorities shutdown, usually are not the central sticking level now. As an alternative, Democrats’ push for brand new restrictions on immigrant detentions has led to the stalemate.

Trump’s marketing campaign launched a video earlier than the president’s go to that includes El Paso residents who claimed that fencing has improved security of their neighborhood.

O’Rourke supplied a direct distinction to Trump’s rhetoric throughout his opposing rally lower than a mile away from the president’s occasion. On Friday, O’Rourke revealed a Medium publish laying out his argument for why Trump’s characterization of El Paso is improper and why a wall shouldn’t be wanted, together with 10 proposals for immigration coverage.

“The President, utilizing the identical racist, inflammatory rhetoric of years previous, seeks to construct a wall, to take children from their dad and mom, to deploy the U.S. Military on American soil, to proceed mass deportations and to finish the safety for Dreamers,” wrote O’Rourke, who has stated he’ll determine by the tip of this month whether or not to run for president.

Trump has been needling his potential Democratic challengers over their help for insurance policies together with Medicare-for-all, greater taxes on the rich and the Inexperienced New Deal.

“Amy Klobuchar introduced that she is operating for President, speaking proudly of combating international warming whereas standing in a digital blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures,” Trump stated Sunday on Twitter. “Dangerous timing. By the tip of her speech she regarded like a Snowman(girl)!”

Klobuchar, whose presidential announcement got here throughout snowfall in Minnesota, shot again, asking how Trump’s “hair would fare in a blizzard.”

Ever since Trump gained the White Home, Democratic strategists have been trying to find a greater means of coping with his name-calling and assaults. Throughout the 2018 midterm elections, pollsters suggested that it was extra necessary to reintroduce the social gathering’s views on key financial points than to assault the president.

However the problem for candidates within the 2020 presidential main is totally different, as each Trump and the Republican Occasion have launched into systematic efforts to tease them individually and model the Democratic Occasion as socialist, excessive and threatening to the American means.

Klobuchar’s hair-focused response confirmed one strategy, which has additionally been employed by Warren, who has referred to as Trump a “loser,” a “thin-skinned fraud” and a “giant orange elephant within the room.”

Jill Normington, a Democratic pollster who shouldn’t be working for a presidential marketing campaign, stated polling exhibits clearly that the highest precedence for Democratic main voters is discovering a candidate who will defeat Trump, though there’s not but any settlement on what qualities will make that occur.

“What you’re seeing within the candidates’ response to methods to take care of Trump is how undefined ‘electability’ is,” Normington stated. “A few of them are selecting to have interaction the president instantly. A few of them are selecting to have interaction from a geographic standpoint, some from a temperament standpoint, some from an adversarial standpoint.”

Olorunnipa reported from Washington. Michael Scherer in Washington contributed to this report.





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