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Texas showdown: O'Rourke, Trump hold dueling rallies over wall

Texas showdown: O'Rourke, Trump hold dueling rallies over wall

O'Rourke, who has claimed to oppose open borders, has faced backlash for refusing to clarify where he stood on the migrant caravan that was heading toward the U.S. O'Rourke dodged commenting on the topic despite immigration and border security overwhelmingly being the top issues for voters in Texas during his unsuccessful run to unseat Republican Texas Sen.

The Trump campaign's chief operating officer, Michael Glassner, said in a statement: "As the president continues his fight to secure our border, there's no better place to demonstrate that walls work than in El Paso".

"He's making an effort to use this community as a prop to make his case for a border wall", O'Rourke said. Margo said while Trump was right to call El Paso safe, he was wrong to attribute its drop in crime to the construction of a barrier along the border - a remark he said Trump had echoed from Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton. In their resolution Monday, El Paso County officials noted the city's violent crime rate dropped 62 percent between its peak in the 1990s to 2007, a year before construction on the fence began. "If you could snap your fingers and make El Paso's border wall disappear, would you?"

After Trump's remarks about El Paso in his State of the Union address, Mayor Dee Margo, a Republican, took to Twitter to counter the president's claims, saying that "El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST unsafe cities in the U.S.". Both sides face a Friday deadline to reach an agreement or face another possible shutdown - Trump also has threatened to declare a national emergency to address what he describes as a security crisis.

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FILE PHOTO: Jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi leaves Thailand's Criminal Court, in Bangkok , Thailand February 4, 2019. The pity is, the past two months of detention and fears he would be tortured on return to Bahrain could have all been avoided.

Reports say Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz will be in attendance for the President's speech.

President Trump is gearing up for his first rally of the 2020 campaign season. On Tuesday, O'Rourke promised a 2020 decision by the end of the month.

In a conference call with reporters, O'Rourke said his counter-rally two hundred yards from the Trump event would be a "powerful, beautiful" response to "Trump's lies about our community, the U.S. -Mexico border, immigrants, about Mexicans".

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.