President Donald Trump took his fight for a border wall to El Paso on Monday as a coalition of anti-wall protestors staged a competing rally at the same time not far from the County Coliseum where the president held his gathering.
Trump took to the stage about 7:20 p.m, before an enthusiastic crowd in the 6,500 capacity coliseum, which was originally built for rodeos and livestock shows. The president was flanked by banners calling for “Finish the Wall.”
The competing March for Truth was organized by a coalition led by the Border Network for Human Rights, Women’s March El Paso and some 40 other community partners and included speeches by former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and current congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso).
El Paso has been at the center of the controversy over a border wall as Trump has demanded Congress fund $5.7 billion to erect a wall, saying it is necessary to keep the United States safe from illegal immigration, which he has called a crisis. In his State of the Union address, Trump declared El Paso was a dangerous place before the wall, but El Paso officials dispute that depiction, saying the city has been one of the safest in the nation long before border fencing was installed. The government shut down for a record 35 days from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25.
Late Monday, Republican and Democratic lawmakers announced they had an agreement in principle on border security.