U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, flanked by U.S. Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minnesota (left), and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, spoke to the press after touring a tent city that held thousands of immigrant children in Tornillo on Dec. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri: O’Rourke/REUTERS/Yuri Gripas: Trump
Beto O’Rourke is not shying away from the spotlight as President Donald Trump prepares to hold a rally in the El Paso hometown of the former congressman and potential presidential candidate.
On Monday evening, O’Rourke will lead a march through the city and then speak at a “Celebration of El Paso” event at 7 p.m. local time — across the street from Trump’s rally and at the same time it is set to begin, according to O’Rourke’s team. The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are intended to highlight El Paso’s strength as a binational community — and push back against Trump’s long-sought border wall.
The rally comes as O’Rourke nears a decision on whether to join the Democratic race to challenge Trump in 2020 following a closer-than-expected loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in November. On Tuesday, O’Rourke promised a 2020 decision by the end of the month.
Earlier Monday, O’Rourke will join his successor in Congress, Rep. Veronica Escobar, for a conference call to “denounce Trump’s campaign rally in El Paso and his fixation on a racist and useless border wall,” organizers said. And on Friday evening, O’Rourke returned to his favorite blogging platform — Medium — to offer a prebuttal to Trump’s trip.
“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.”