If there’s one thing President Donald Trump cares about, it’s size—specifically, crowd size. He’s concerned himself with event attendance since at least the inauguration, when not only did the White House lie about crowd numbers, but also edited photos to make the throngs appear more impressive.
Two years (only two!) later, and little has changed. On Monday night, Trump held a “Finish the Wall” rally in El Paso, Texas, as per the Associated Press, while Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke led a rival demonstration decrying the border wall, organized with the help of more than 50 local organizations.
The #MarchForTruth was organized by hard-working El Paso volunteers and over 50 local organizations. This was 100% fueled BY El Pasoans FOR El Pasoans. And they did an incredible job on very short notice. Please – state and national media – give credit where credit is due. https://t.co/MBhQswKiOQ— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) February 12, 2019
Before the events even began, Trump was ready to whip ‘em out and measure ‘em. According to the El Paso Times, Trump alluded to the Texan’s counter-march ahead of the rally: “We have a line that is very long already. I mean, you see what’s going on. And I understand our competition’s got a line, too, but it’s a tiny, little line.”
If he could have used the new pinching emoji, he probably would’ve.
Trump mocked Beto’s crowd size, and said during his rally, “That may be the end of his presidential bid.” The AP reports he then added, “You’re supposed to win in order to run.”
During his pro-border wall rally, Trump claimed there were 10,000 people in attendance at the El Paso County Coliseum. However, fire public information officer Enrique D. Aguilar told the El Paso Times that there were only 6,500 people in attendance, which is within the arena’s capacity. He noted that “it might be 10,000 with the people outside,” but the fire department wasn’t counting those not inside the coliseum.
As for Beto’s crowd size, well, let’s just say the president was overcompensating. “They’ll say Beto O’Rourke had a wonderful rally of about 15 people [tonight],” Trump said, according to the Texas Tribune. However, an aide told the paper that about 7,000 attended O’Rourke’s march, which ended at a baseball field near the coliseum.
The content of the rallies themselves—big rallies, really tremendous rallies, folks—was nothing surprising. “Walls work. Walls save lives,” Trump reiterated, per the AP. His event was disrupted by protesters multiple times.
O’Rourke emphasized the importance of security, but in the absence of a wall: “With the eyes of the country upon us, all of us together are going to make our stand here in one of the safest cities in America. Safe not because of walls but in spite of walls.”