President Trump holds a rally in Texas

By Brian Ries, CNN
11:27 PM ET, Mon February 11, 2019
10:43 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump doubles down on El Paso's crime rate decrease as a case for a wall

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump during his speech in El Paso doubled down on his argument that a border wall led to a decrease in crime in the border city.

“You know where it did make a big difference? Right here in El Paso. And I’ve been watching where they’re trying to say ‘Oh the wall didn’t make that much – ‘. Well, you take a look at what they did with their past crimes and how they made them from very serious to much lesser – you take a look at what the real system is,” Trump said.

“I’ve spoken to people who have been here a long time. They said when that wall went up it’s a whole different ball game. Is that a correct statement? Whole different ball game.” 

The President also appeared to zero-in on the Republican mayor of El Paso Dee Margo’s recent comments on CNN disputing Trump’s claim about El Paso’s safety record. 

“And I don’t care whether a mayor’s a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap, what they say it hasn’t made a big difference,” Trump said. 

However, as CNN has repeatedly reported, an analysis of FBI crimes data and city law enforcement data analyzed by the El Paso Times, violent crime in El Paso peaked in 1993. Border fence construction didn't begin until 2008, and was completed in 2009. But violent crime fell long before the wall was built in El Paso, with violent crime falling 34% between 1993 and 2006 in the city.

And according to the El Paso Times, from 2006 to 2011, violent crime in El Paso actually increased by 17 percent.

Other analyses of crime data suggest a decrease in violent crime in the immediate wake of Operation “Hold the Line,” in which hundreds of Border Patrol agents were deployed to the border surrounding El Paso to intercept potential illegal entries and new technologies were implemented.

10:34 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump says having a dog at the White House would be "phony"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump went on a bit of a tangent about getting a dog Monday evening in El Paso.

Trump was talking about German Shepherds who work on the border to find drugs. 

"I wouldn’t mind having one," the notoriously pet-averse Trump said. 

"How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn sort of not – I don’t know, I don’t feel good, feels a little phony to me," Trump said. 

He added that people have asked and told him it's "good politically" to have a dog, but "That’s not the relationship I have with my people."

An audience member pointed out that Obama had a dog. Trump laughed. "Obama had a dog. Yeah you're right."

The Trumps have broke with tradition in not having a pet; the illustrious tradition of keeping pets in the White House dates back to Thomas Jefferson, who kept a mockingbird and a couple of bear cubs during his presidency. Throughout the years, presidential pets became celebrities of sorts.

Trump lived with a poodle, Chappy, with his first wife, Ivana, who wrote in her memoir, "Raising Trump," that, "Donald was not a dog fan."

"When I told him I was bringing Chappy with me to New York, he said, 'No,' " she wrote. "'It's me and Chappy or no one!' I insisted, and that was that."

Chappy, she later said, "had an equal dislike of Donald."

10:32 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez responds to President Trump’s Green New Deal comments 

From CNN's Ashley Killough

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just reacted to President Trump’s criticism of her Green New Deal.

10:11 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump tells crowd he took stage instead of hearing about deal to avert shutdown

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump reacted to news that progress has been made with Congressional negotiators on stage in El Paso. 

Before he came on stage, he said he was told that progress had been made on the Hill. 

"They say that progress is being made. Just so you know. Just now just now," he said. "I said wait a minute, I gotta take care of my people from Texas, I got to go, I don’t even want to hear about it, I don’t want to hear about it."

Trump said he had a choice between staying backstage to hear more about the deal or coming out to speak. 

“I chose you,” Trump told the crowd. He added, "So we probably have some good news, but who knows?"

10:07 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Crowd chants, "Lock her up." Trump responds, "That's starting to make a lot more sense"

It's been over two years since President Donald Trump took office, but the "lock her up" chants are back in 2019. 

Trump touted the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr's assertion that his committee "found no collusion between Donald Trump and Russia," prompting a USA chant from the El Paso crowd. 

Then he countered: "The fact is that the real collusion was between Hillary and the Democrats and the other side with Russia."

The crowd erupted in "lock her up." Trump's reaction? "That’s starting to make a lot more sense, but that’s where the collusion is."

Clinton, for her part, has responded to this accusation in the past:

9:55 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump slams O'Rourke: "You're supposed to win in order to run"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump, without naming him, slammed hometown politician Beto O'Rourke, who is holding a rally nearby.  

O'Rourke, Trump said, "challenged us" in El Paso with the competing rallies. Trump noted the former Congressman "lost an election to Ted Cruz" — which is true, though it was incredibly close.

“W we were all challenged by a young man who lost an election to Ted Cruz. And then they said, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to win in order to run.’ By the way we – I – I’m one for one. We had one election, now we’re going to be 2 for 0 and everything’s going to be perfect. But a young man who has got very little going for himself except he’s got a great first name, he is, he challenged us. So we have, lets say, 35,000 people tonight and he has 200 people, 300 people – not too good. In fact, what I would do is say that may be the end of his presidential bid. But he did challenge it.”
9:39 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump claims "we started a big beautiful wall right on the Rio Grande"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump began his Monday night speech in El Paso, Texas, by telling the crowd about a new segment of a wall on the US-Mexico border.

“I don’t know if you heard, right. Today we started a big beautiful wall right on the Rio Grande. Right smack on the Rio Grande,” Trump said.

It’s wasn’t immediately clear which segment of a wall he was referring to. However, CNN’s Phil Mattingly reports that an initial border security deal from Congress would cover $1.375B in barrier funding will cover roughly 55 miles of new barrier - including in the Rio Grande Valley.

9:38 p.m. ET, February 11, 2019

Trump previews his 2020 message, "a mainstream, common-sense agenda"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Donald Trump is beginning his first rally of 2019 with a bipartisan message

"Our agenda is not a partisan agenda," he said, adding the caveat that "every once in a while, it does become that way."

Here is how he is defining his agenda as he seeks a second term: "It’s a mainstream, common sense agenda of the American people."

He pointed to the economy and touted success in North Korea before pivoting to his crowd sizes: "tens of thousands of people."