Former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke challenged President Donald Trump on Monday in a public event which took place at the same time as the President’s 2020 campaign rally, saying that walls are not what make cities safe.
While Trump told the crowd that his promised border wall will be built because “walls work,” O’Rourke made some very opposing comments, saying that El Paso was “one of the safest cities in the United States of America…safe, not because of walls — but in spite of walls.”
“Walls do not save lives. They end lives,” the potential presidential candidate said at the “March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies” rally happening a short drive from Trump’s.
Meanwhile, President Trump tried to convince his supporters that the drop in violent crime in El Paso was a result of the building of the barrier in 2008. The current mayor of the city, Dee Margo responded to the claim and said El Paso was never one of “the most dangerous cities” in America and that the barrier had nothing to do with the levels of crime in it.
At the march, O’Rourke also said, “We treat each other with dignity and respect. That is the way we make our community and our country safe.”
CNN writes that the event was a test of O’Rourke’s ability to confront the President with a national audience as he weighs running for president. He had previously said he would make his mind up about a presidential bid by the end of the month but refused to discuss his plans Monday night.
O’Rourke’s focus was instead on making a case against the border wall and expressing opposition to the President’s calls for building it. He highlighted Trump’s 2015 comments about Mexicans being “rapists” and “criminals,” telling the crowd that immigrants commit crimes at lower-than-average rates.
O’Rourke also stressed that they “stand against national security declarations that allow the president to subvert an equal branch of government” and get funding for his campaign promise.
“We stand for America and we stand against walls,” he said. “We know there is no bargain in which we can sacrifice some of our humanity to gain a little more security.”