For the second time in six months, Beto O’Rourke is planning a counter-rally to oppose President Donald Trump when he returns to Texas for a rally next week.
Trump had already scheduled to hold a rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Oct. 17. Now, O’Rourke has announced he’ll have his own “Rally Against Fear” about 14 miles away in Grand Prairie.
“We will not be defined by this president’s fear, his hate, or the differences between us that he tries to exploit but instead by a renewed sense of hope and a unified vision for the future of our country,” O’Rourke said in a statement to the media.
O’Rourke made a similar move in February when Trump held a campaign rally in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso. In that case, O’Rourke led a rally across the street from El Paso County Coliseum, where Trump addressed thousands.
Like other Democratic rivals, Trump has frequently jabbed at O’Rourke. Last October, Trump took to Twitter to call O’Rourke a lightweight and then followed that up by declaring O’Rourke a “stone-cold phony” at a rally in Houston to help Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. More recently, Trump called him “Dummy Beto” for calling for mandatory gun buybacks for weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s.
O’Rourke, meanwhile, has been a thorn in the side of the White House in the past. He led some of the first protests in 2018 at Tornillo, the camp where children of asylum seekers and migrants were being separated from their parents by the Trump administration, an issue that became a major issue as Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.
The Trump rally in Dallas will be just two days after the fourth Democratic presidential candidates debate in Ohio. It will also be Trump’s first visit to Texas since the controversy around his phone call with the president of Ukraine sparked an impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House.
Trump has put a big emphasis on Texas since he took office in 2017. The Dallas rally will mark the 12th visit Trump has made to Texas — more than then-President Barack Obama made in 8 years. Trump was last in Texas on Sept. 22 in Houston.
O’Rourke’s bid for the White House has lost considerable steam over the last six months. In March, O’Rourke was the choice of about 12 percent of potential Democratic voters in a Quinnipiac University poll, good for third place in the crowded field and eight percentage points ahead of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But in a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, he was at 1 percent — tied for ninth place — and 28 percentage points behind Warren, who leads the new poll.
The O’Rourke rally in Grand Prairie begins at 6 p.m. at The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. The Trump rally at the American Airlines Center begins at 7 p.m.