President Donald Trump is planning his first rally of the year in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) will stage a counter-rally a mile away, defying the president’s fear-mongering on immigration at the southern border.
The former Senate candidate and potential 2020 presidential hopeful slammed the spread of “fear and paranoia,” in a statement obtained Friday by CBS News. He added that during Trump’s planned rally, “El Paso will come together for a march and celebration that highlights the truth.”
O’Rourke’s event kicks off at 5 p.m., and he will deliver remarks at 7 p.m., the time at which the president’s “Make America Great Again” rally begins.
In a lengthy Medium post published Friday, O’Rourke warned that Trump would promote “lies about the dangers that immigrants pose.” He wrote that Trump would repeat his demands for a border wall and paint the city as a once perilous environment saved by the construction of fencing in 2008.
The politician then asked readers to consider “how we arrived at such a disconnect between our ideals, our values, the reality of our lives,” arguing against the “cynical exploitation of nativism and fear” that drives distorted narratives on immigration.
Trump once again highlighted border security during his State of the Union address last Tuesday, calling El Paso “one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities” and erroneously crediting “a powerful barrier” for making it one of the safest.
PolitiFact has since debunked that claim as false, noting that researchers have not evaluated the area as historically among the most dangerous in the U.S.
Furthermore, the fact check noted that FBI data shows El Paso’s violent crime rate has fallen beneath the average for other similarly-sized cities from 1985 to 2014, disproving both of Trump’s assertions.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated O’Rourke’s rally would be held across the street from Trump’s, based on a news report. The rallies will actually be held a mile apart.