TEXAS — Beto O’Rourke is set to counter President Donald Trump’s visit to El Paso, Texas, on Monday by joining a one-mile march past Trump’s rally and giving a speech across the street at about the same time the President plans to take the stage.
As the former congressman from Texas weighs a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — he told Oprah Winfrey this week that he’ll decide by the end of the month — he is participating in a protest against Trump’s push for a wall along the southern border.
The march, organized by Women’s March El Paso, is being billed as a “March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies.”
Lyda Ness-Garcia, one of the organizers of the march, said the group met with O’Rourke and he agreed to speak at the rally, march with protesters — and possibly play with some of the bands.
The march is set to begin near Bowie High School, pass the convention center holding Trump’s event and finish at Chalio Acosta Sports Center — a one-mile trip along the US-Mexico border.
O’Rourke’s speech is set to begin at 9 p.m. ET — the same time Trump is scheduled to take the stage one street and less than a quarter of a mile away.
Earlier in the day Monday, O’Rourke plans to join Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar — a longtime ally who took his former seat in Congress after his failed bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last fall — and other activists on a conference call to denounce Trump’s push for a border wall.
In the interview with Winfrey this week, O’Rourke called Trump’s push for the wall 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.”
In a release announcing Monday’s events, O’Rourke’s camp cast the protest as an effort to “show the country the reality of the border — a vibrant, safe, binational community that proudly celebrates its culture, history, diversity and status as a city of immigrants.”
“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’s news release said.