President Donald Trump and erstwhile Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke held competing rallies in El Paso, with a potential government shutdown and the unfinished border wall looming in the background. Trump spent much of his rally poking fun at O’Rourke, erroneously claiming he had only drawn a few hundred supporters to Trump’s tens of thousands. Yet, as his numbers were proven false — again — and his border wall plan was once again rejected, O’Rourke seemed to be more presidential. What do you think?
Throughout the rally, Trump referenced O’Rourke’s counter-rally. Per NPR:
Trump seemed especially attuned to and plenty sensitive about the split-screen image of the rally O’Rourke, El Paso’s former congressman, was holding outside in the heavily Democratic city. Exaggerating, as he’s prone to do, about his crowd size, Trump claimed that O’Rourke had only drawn 200 or 300 to his protest while they had 35,000 people trying to get into his.
“That may be the end of his presidential bid,” Trump said, mocking O’Rourke as “a young man who’s got very little going for himself except a great first name.”
However, Trump’s claims were quickly proven incorrect.
El Paso police estimate a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 for the anti-Trump, anti-wall, pro-O’Rourke march and rally tonight.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 12, 2019
Trump’s entire camp, including his son, poked fun at O’Rourke throughout the night.
Beto trying to counter-program @realdonaldtrump in his hometown and only drawing a few hundred people to Trump’s 35,000 is a really bad look.
Partial pic of the Trump overflow crowd below! #AnyQuestions pic.twitter.com/PKxkbcFNFO
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 12, 2019
Many pundits said comparing Trump’s swipes at O’Rourke with the El Paso native’s focus on the good of the nation put the former Congressman in a much more positive light. Per Vanity Fair:
O’Rourke, meanwhile, came off sounding downright presidential. “With the eyes of the country upon us, all of us together are going to make our stand, here in one of the safest cities in the United States of America,” O’Rourke told a roaring crowd. “Safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls. Secure because we treat one another with dignity and respect.” After months of aimless ennui following his narrow loss to Ted Cruz in the midterms, the rally appeared to energize O’Rourke. “Yeah, I’m back in the mix,” he told Politico before going onstage. “All of us right now have a responsibility to do all that we can, and this is me doing my best.”
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