DALLAS - Both President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke are in North Texas Thursday for dueling campaign rallies.
The two rallies are expected to draw lots of enthusiasm, as well as cause some traffic issues in and around Downtown Dallas.
President Donald Trump
The crowd of people fired up about President Donald Trump’s rally in Downtown Dallas continues to grow.
The Thursday night rally at the American Airlines Center kicks off at 7 p.m. and the doors open at 4 p.m. Attendees were asked to register online but the seating is first-come, first-served.
That’s one of the reasons so many people are gathering early, determined to get the best seats in the house. The line started forming on Wednesday.
“I've seen the rallies on TV, and he's drawing in tens of thousands of people,” said Rachel Hassenteufel from Plano. “And I wanted to make sure there was a chance for me to get in the doors. It's once in a lifetime opportunity.”
It's Blake Marnell's sixth Trump rally. He made the trip from San Diego.
“I wear my hat and I wear my suit in public even when it's not a rally,” he said. “I think some people are afraid to show their support for President Trump even when it's not a rally. I kind of go to the other end of the spectrum.”
Vendors selling Trump merchandise in Victory Park will likely do very brisk business throughout the day.
Trump’s boisterous and well-attended rallies have become one of the defining traits of his political career, both when he was a candidate and since winning the White House.
The president clearly draws a lot of energy from the crowd and he knows how to get his most loyal supporters fired up. And even if he comes in with a prepared speech, it’s pretty guaranteed he will veer off from the script more than once.
“One thing that always applies at these Trump rallies is to see whether things stay within the bounds of civil discourse or whether you get these kind of viral, over the top moments. Is there a chant, is there a sign, is there some off the cuff statement by the president that ends up being very controversial,” said Matthew Wilson, an SMU political science professor.
The theme of Thursday night’s rally is “Keep America Great.” The president’s aides said he will talk about the strong United States economy and how that’s benefitting Texas. He’s also expected to talk about the Second Amendment, trade, the border wall and he will no doubt have some pointed words for his political opponents.
The streets around the AAC will be closed for the rally. Olive Street and All Star Way will be closed starting at 9 a.m. Houston Street and Victory Avenue close at 5 p.m. and will remain closed until the event ends.
Before he arrives in Dallas, Trump will stop in Fort Worth for a fundraiser and in Johnson County for the opening of a Luis Vuitton manufacturing plant near the town of Keen. He wants to highlight job creation in Texas and the U.S.
Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will hold his “Rally Against Fear” at the same time in Grand Prairie.
The former congressman from El Paso joined Good Day in the studio Thursday morning to talk about the event. He said he wants his supporters to stand up to hatred, racism and intolerance.
“I want to make sure that it’s beyond the person and the politician and the party. But the fear, the racism with which he has trafficked in Texas – describing immigrants as rapists and criminals, trying to make people afraid if they don’t love like or look like or pray like the majority in this country – that all of us can come together – Republicans, Independents, Democrats alike – against that fear and for the best traditions and values of America. Our greatness is born of our differences,” O’Rourke said.
He also shared his thoughts on gun legislation, the Ukraine controversy and impeachment. He believes the impeachment process should move forward.
“Now that we know that he reached out to President Zalinski of the Ukraine, tried to trade favors in exchange for digging up dirt on Joe Biden, tried to hide the transcript of the conversation and then did that out in the open with China – said ‘Hey, China, dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for favorable trade treatment.’ Breaking the law has to have consequences or we will no longer be a nation of laws,” he said.
O’Rourke is falling to the lower tier of the Democratic presidential race. He has not qualified for the next debate but remains optimistic.
“We can do this together. Texas has shown the way. Republicans, Independents, Democrats alike coming together. But it’s on all of us to step up right now. This is a defining, deciding moment of truth,” he said.
Beto’s event at the Theatre in Grand Prairie is from 6 to 8 p.m.