Trump returns to campaign form with El Paso rally promoting border wall .
President Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday with a boisterous rally in El Paso, Texas, a city that he
claimed had benefited from the construction of a border barrier similar to the one he has long promoted.
Standing beneath a giant American flag and flanked by two banners that read “Finish the wall,” Trump proclaimed, “If we didn’t have walls” like the section built in El Paso in 2008, “you would have people pouring in.”
“You know where it made a big difference. Right here in El Paso,” Trump told a capacity crowd of 6,500 supporters at El Paso County Coliseum. (Thousands more listened to the speech outside the coliseum, Trump claimed.)
“Today we started a big beautiful wall right smack on the Rio Grande,” Trump said, without providing details.
In a speech that was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, Trump argued that “walls save lives. Walls save tremendous numbers of lives,” and assured his crowd that the one he promised during the 2016 presidential campaign was underway.
Trump’s central argument for the border wall, which he repeated during last week’s State of the Union address, was
That the addition of a border wall in 2008 transformed El Paso from a place with “extremely high rates of violent crime” to “one of the safest cities in our country.”
In fact, El Paso, which has a population of 683,577, had one of the lowest violent crime rates for a city of its size before the border barrier was built. That rate edged up slightly after construction of the barrier was complete.
A mile away from where Trump spoke Monday, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lives in El Paso,