Donald Trump is heading to El Paso for a “Make America Great Again” campaign rally on Monday night at 7 PM local time, 9 PM ET. Two things you can 100 percent expect Trump to do are push for his border wall—a push that may lead to another government shutdown at the end of the week—and repeat his State of the Union lies about El Paso.
El Paso, Trump claimed, “used to have extremely high rates of violent crime—one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.” But then, “immediately” after a wall was erected and because of it, “El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.” That’s a lie, of course. Not the part about El Paso being safe now, but that it was so very dangerous before. The local sheriff and the House member representing El Paso have both pushed back, with Rep. Veronica Escobar writing to Trump that “El Paso has never been one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and our safety and security has long been a point of pride.”
The statistics bear them out, too. Pre-barrier, El Paso already had lower crime than most cities its size. But Trump isn’t interested in facts when his story about walls is so much more politically convenient. So you can count on him telling that story to his fans in El Paso Monday night, many of whom will decide that he’s right, even where what he’s saying is contrary to the reality they have lived.
Trump won’t visit El Paso without pushback, though. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, will participate in a mile-long march along the border and then speak at a rally not far from Trump’s. In a Medium post, O’Rourke called out Trump’s El Paso lies specifically, as well as his broader immigration lies, tying Trump’s policies to the U.S. policies that led to today’s levels of undocumented immigrants living in this country. Looking at those past policies, O’Rourke writes that Trump “seeks in one administration to repeat all the mistakes of the last half-century. And with past as prologue, we know exactly how that will end.”