Representative Beto O’Rourke (D., Texas) called the southern border “one of the safest places in the United States” late Tuesday night, hours after President Trump delivered an Oval Office address on the need for a border wall.
“By any measure the border is as safe as it’s ever been,” O’Rourke said in a video of the border he took and posted on Twitter. “And the president’s using fear and anecdote to try to instill anxiety and paranoia to build the political will to construct this wall that would cost $30 billion and take private property and cause death and suffering as more asylum seekers are pushed to ever-more hostile stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“That was what we heard from the Oval Office,” O’Rourke said. “And we need to meet that fear with the truth, with our ambition, with the best traditions of this country, a country of immigrants.”
The president on Tuesday evening delivered his first Oval Office address, calling on Democrats to relent and approve his demand for over $5 billion in funding for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump made his remarks amid an ongoing partial government shutdown, which reached its nineteenth day on Wednesday. Negotiations broke down shortly before Christmas, with Democrats refusing to budge from their offer of $1.6 billion for non-wall border security and Republicans sticking to Trump’s demand for over $5 billion to fund construction of a wall.
In November, O’Rourke lost his Senate bid to incumbent Ted Cruz in a race that was alarmingly competitive for the Texas GOP. Despite his defeat, O’Rourke became a rising Democratic star and is rumored to be considering a 2020 presidential bid.