President Donald Trump and former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke spoke at rallies in El Paso, Texas on Monday night.
Trump spoke at the El Paso County Coliseum, which was draped with banners reading “Finish the Wall” — an apparent update to his “Build the Wall” campaign slogan.
O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and served as the district’s congressman, spoke at a pro-immigrant, anti-Trump march organized by activists, which ended at a baseball field a mile away from Trump’s rally.
O’Rourke, who narrowly lost his bid for Senate to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, is considering a 2020 presidential run. His senate campaign was noted for his ability to raise funds from small donations and energize Democratic voters in a red state.
As multiple outlets pointed out, the opposing rallies were a preview of the 2020 campaign season — which for a growing field of democratic candidates is already underway. (O’Rourke, for his part told Oprah, he’d decide before the end the month whether he’d run or not.)
Trump’s rally began amidst reports that lawmakers had reached a tentative deal on border security, which would avert a potential government shutdown in four days.
The longest ever government shutdown — 35 days — ended on January 25. It began over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in funds for his proposed US-Mexico border wall; in an about face he said he would not sign stopgap bills to fund the government without that money. A bill with wall funding could not pass in the Senate, and then after January 3, when the Democrats took over the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not fund Trump’s wall.
The shutdown ended when Trump signed a stopgap measure to fund the government until February 15.