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Five takeaways from Trump's El Paso rally on border wall, shutdown talks

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President Donald Trump is boasting about the size of the crowd attending his rally in El Paso, Texas, versus that for former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke. (Feb. 11)
AP

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump held his first rally of the year Monday, using the backdrop of El Paso, Texas, to make a case for his controversial border wall and stepped up immigration enforcement.  

Part 2020 messaging, part an effort to influence ongoing negotiations over government funding, Trump blasted Democrats and touted his own successes over the past two years. Prepare to hear these same themes a lot of over the next two. 

Here are five key takeaways from Trump’s rally in El Paso. 

Border security deal 

Trump mostly avoided the night’s breaking news – that budget negotiators in Congress had reached a deal “in principle” to keep the government open past Friday, when current funding will expire.

“They said progress is being made,” Trump said, referring to aides who briefed him before he began speaking in El Paso, where signs hanging from the rafters read: “Finish the wall.”

“I don’t want to hear about it,” Trump said he told his aides, adding that he chose to address the crowd rather than learn about details of the deal.

“We probably have some good news,” he said. “But who knows.”

Trump gave no indication of whether he’d be willing to sign such a deal.

Emergency declaration?

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  •  2/11/19 5:44:54 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 1 of 104
  •  2/11/19 11:30:14 AM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- On Monday morning, dozen newly-arrived migrants from around Mexico and Latin America to the Casa del Migrante, the Catholic-run shelter for migrants located in Ciudad Juarez.  Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett2 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:43:49 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 3 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:52:33 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 4 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:52:34 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. Nick Oza5 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:52:49 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett6 of 104
  •  2/11/19 8:18:14 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 7 of 104
  •  2/11/19 8:18:51 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 8 of 104
  •  2/11/19 8:27:52 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 9 of 104
  •  2/11/19 8:46:43 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 10 of 104
  •  2/11/19 8:46:57 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 11 of 104
  •  2/11/19 9:01:15 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 12 of 104
  •  2/11/19 9:07:59 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Anthony Gonzalez, a President Trump supporter during the campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 13 of 104
  •  2/11/19 9:08:58 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 14 of 104
  •  2/11/19 11:23:57 AM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- On Monday morning, dozen newly-arrived migrants from around Mexico and Latin America to the Casa del Migrante, the Catholic-run shelter for migrants located in Ciudad Juarez.  Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett15 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:12:34 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 16 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:21:41 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 17 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:23:07 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 18 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:25:04 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 19 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:26:10 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 20 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:33:04 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 21 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:35:16 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 22 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:37:29 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 23 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:38:14 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 24 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:52:49 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 25 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:58:05 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke, holds his son Henry, joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett26 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:58:05 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke, holds his son Henry, joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett27 of 104
  •  2/11/19 5:58:05 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke, holds his son Henry, joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. Photo by Nick Oza, Gannett28 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:05:00 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 29 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:06:43 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 30 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:06:46 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto ORourke joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 31 of 104
  •  2/11/19 6:12:34 PM -- El Paso, TX, U.S.A  -- Hundreds joined the March for Truth along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally near El Paso County Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2019. 32 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.33 of 104
  • Donald Trump Jr. speaks at the rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.34 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks at the rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.35 of 104
  • A sign shows support for Mexicans at the counter-rally Feb. 11, 2019.36 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks at the rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.37 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks at the rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.38 of 104
  • Support was evident for Beto O'Rourke at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso.39 of 104
  • People listen during the counter-rally Feb. 11, 2019.40 of 104
  • A Trump pinata made an appearance at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, after Baby Trump balloon couldn't make because of the wind.41 of 104
  • A Whataburger fan shows up at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso.42 of 104
  • Support was evident for Beto O'Rourke at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso.43 of 104
  • A sign questions the fiscal sense of the wall.44 of 104
  • A Trump pinata made an appearance at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, after Baby Trump balloon couldn't make because of the wind.45 of 104
  • Police break up a confrontation outside the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.46 of 104
  • Support was evident for Beto O'Rourke at the counter-rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso.47 of 104
  • A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, holding his son Henry, joined the March for Truth with hundreds of people along with Border Network for Human Rights, Women's March, to protest against President Trump campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.48 of 104
  • A counter-rally led by former U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke in El Paso, Texas.49 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.50 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.51 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday at the El Paso County Coliseum.52 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.53 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.54 of 104
  • President Donald Trump speaks Monday a the El Paso County Coliseum.55 of 104
  • President Donald Trump arrives Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso International Airport.56 of 104
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick arrives Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso International Airport.57 of 104
  • The presidential motorcade awaits the arrival of President Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso International Airport.58 of 104
  • Invited guests await the arrival of President Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso International Airport.59 of 104
  • Air Force One lands at the El Paso International Airport on Monday.60 of 104
  • Dignitaries wait for the president Monday at the El Paso International Airport.61 of 104
  • Former Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke stands in the background during the counter-rally Monday.62 of 104
  • People at the counter-rally hold a banner against the border wall Monday.63 of 104
  • A sign at the counter-rally alleges that President Donald Trump hates tacos.64 of 104
  • Thousands join the counter-rally Monday in El Paso, chanting, Reforma si, el muro no! (Reform yes, the wall no).65 of 104
  • Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn enters the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, ahead of President Donald Trump's rally.66 of 104
  • Thousands join the counter-rally Monday in El Paso, chanting, Reforma si, el muro no! (Reform yes, the wall no).67 of 104
  • Thousands join the counter-rally Monday in El Paso, chanting, Reforma si, el muro no! (Reform yes, the wall no).68 of 104
  • Thousands join the counter-rally Monday in El Paso, chanting, Reforma si, el muro no! (Reform yes, the wall no).69 of 104
  • The Beto Mobile shows up at the counter-rally Monday.70 of 104
  • Signs supporting Beto O'Rourke were on display at the counter-rally Monday.71 of 104
  • The Beto Mobile shows up at the counter-rally Monday.72 of 104
  • El Pasoan Eddie Rojas said at counter-rally: The world is looking at El Paso right now.73 of 104
  • Maria Telles of Las Cruces shows her support for President Donald Trump at before Trump rally in El Paso with her dog, Penny.74 of 104
  • Buttons backing a presidential run by Beto O'Rourke are on sale Monday before his rally.75 of 104
  • About 100 invited guests line up Monday for the arrival of President Donald Trump at the El Paso International Airport.76 of 104
  • El Paso police wait outside hangar where President Donald Trump was set to arrive within hours Monday.77 of 104
  • A lone Trump detractor stands on his bicycle amid a sea of Trump supporters on Monday. Life is a risk, man, he said. You've got to stand up for what you believe in. I don't want my kids growing up in a racist society. I don't want them to be ashamed to be Mexican. He wouldn't give his name.78 of 104
  • Rafael Hernandez, left, and Tony Murillo, both of El Paso, hold signs protesting President Donald Trump. Both say they were upset at Trump's remarks about El Paso in the State of the Union speech and want to send a different message Monday.79 of 104
  • A border wall mascot makes an appearance Monday before President Donald Trump's rally.80 of 104
  • The number of counterprotesters grows as they gather Monday.81 of 104
  • Police block off Boone Street at Delta Drive on Monday in advance of President Donald Trump's rally.82 of 104
  • President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as he leaves Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, for a trip to El Paso. Trump will hold his first campaign rally since November's midterm elections in El Paso as he faces a defining week for his push for a border wall, his presidency and his 2020 prospects.83 of 104
  • The counter rally to President Donald Trump's begins to form at Bowie High School in El Paso on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.84 of 104
  • President Donald Trump walks up the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Trump is heading to El Paso to try to turn the debate over a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border back to his political advantage as his signature pledge to American voters threatens to become a model of unfulfilled promises.85 of 104
  • President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Trump is heading to El Paso to try to turn the debate over a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border back to his political advantage as his signature pledge to American voters threatens to become a model of unfulfilled promises.86 of 104
  • A crowd estimated at over 850 wait to enter the El Paso Coliseum on Monday afternoon as they wait to hear President Donald Trump.87 of 104
  • A crowd estimated at over 850 wait to enter the El Paso Coliseum on Monday afternoon as they wait to hear President Donald Trump.88 of 104
  • A crowd estimated at over 850 wait to enter the El Paso Coliseum on Monday afternoon as they wait to hear President Donald Trump.89 of 104
  • Trump supporters display their signs backing the president Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, outside the El Paso County Coliseum. They called him Grandpa Trump.90 of 104
  • The crowd waiting to get into President Donald Trump's rally grows Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, outside the El Paso County Coliseum.91 of 104
  • Banners supporting President Donald Trump fly outside the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.92 of 104
  • The crowd waiting to get into President Donald Trump's rally grows Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, outside the El Paso County Coliseum.93 of 104
  • Merchandise in English and Spanish awaits supporters of President Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in El Paso.94 of 104
  • A sign seeks to speed up entry for people attending the rally by President Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.95 of 104
  • Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was among the first to arrive at the El Paso County Convention Center for the Donald Trump rally on Feb. 11, 2019.96 of 104
  • People carry a sign that says, Finish The Wall, on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum ahead of President Donald Trump's rally.97 of 104
  • Stands are set up Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, selling Trump merchandise ahead of the president's rally at the El Paso County Coliseum.98 of 104
  • Hawkers set up Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, to sell Trump merchandise ahead of the president's rally at the El Paso County Coliseum.99 of 104
  • People outside the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, prepare for the rally by President Donald Trump set for 7 p.m.100 of 104
  • The usual beautiful blue sky greets people preparing for President Donald Trump's rally Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.101 of 104
  • A giant U.S. flag is set up Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum in preparation for the rally by President Donald Trump.102 of 104
  • Media prepare for President Donald Trump's rally on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the El Paso County Coliseum.103 of 104
  • A sign urges people to get the latest updates on President Donald Trump's campaign via text service.104 of 104

Trump’s rally remarks in El Paso, Texas, were frequently notable for what the president didn’t say. After weeks of threatening to declare a national emergency as a way of freeing up federal funding for his border wall, Trump never used the words “national emergency” in a room full of supporters. 

“Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said.

The absence of a threat to go around Congress to find money for a wall unilaterally may have been an oversight, but it also just as easily may have been by design. White House aides have increasingly floated the idea in recent days of finding money for the wall in the existing federal budget without declaring a national emergency, which has faced resistance from some Senate Republicans.

Trump is unlikely to find as much money through that route, and the approach will almost certainly draw legal challenges whether he declares an emergency or not.

It’s 2018 all over again

Trump’s appearance in El Paso marked his first rally this year – technically his first campaign appearance of the 2020 presidential election cycle. But the vast majority of Trump’s remarks were a rehash of the themes – and even the phrases – he embraced during the midterm election.

The president’s focus on the MS-13 gang, his claim that Democrats are “for open borders,” his touting of the economy and low unemployment – all of those were central to his 2018 stump speech. So, too, were his praise for legislation allowing terminally-ill patients access to experimental drugs and the major opioids package Congress approved last year.

Through the midterms, Trump often mentioned the 2020 election and criticized individual Democrats lining up to challenge him. The president mentioned only one potential rival on Monday, Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who was holding a competing rally in El Paso.

But 2020 is around the corner

Though much of Trump’s rally remarks could have been ripped from the midterms, he did continue to sound some themes that are almost certain to be defining messages for the next election. Among those: Abortion and socialism. The president hit on both of those words in his State of the Union address last week, and White House aides were pleased at the response those lines received from conservatives.

“They’re becoming the party of socialism, late-term abortions, open borders and crime,” Trump claimed. 

Democrats have, in fact, supported additional federal funding for border security, but they oppose the border wall Trump proposed during his 2016 campaign. Trump’s focus on “socialism” is based on more liberal Democratic presidential candidates who have called for a Medicare-for-all health care system or environmental proposals intended to lower carbon emissions.

Trump specifically criticized the “Green New Deal,” saying that it sounds “like a high school term paper that got a low mark.”

A presidential pooch?

In one of the more lighthearted moments of his remarks, Trump wondered what it would be like if there was a presidential pooch beside him at the White House.

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, you should get a dog,'” He said. “Why? ‘It’s good politically.’ I said that’s not the relationship I have with my people.”

Trump said he wouldn’t mind getting a dog, like many other presidents before him, but he doesn’t have the time.

“How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” he asked, as the crowd erupted into laughter.

“I don’t know,” he concluded. “It feels a little phony to me.”

Trump is the first president in more than 120 years who doesn’t have a canine pal by his side at the White House, according to the Presidential Pet Museum website. The last dog-less commander-in-chief was William McKinley, who had a parrot, kittens and roosters – but no presidential pooch.

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/596714510/0/usatodaycomwashington-topstories~Five-takeaways-from-Trumpaposs-El-Paso-rally-on-border-wall-shutdown-talks/

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