Well, it didn’t happen. Former Texas Democratic Congressman Robert O’Rourke (aka “Beto”) didn’t announce his 2020 presidential ambitions, though many expect him to do so. He did, however, hold an event during President Trump’s rally. It was the battle of the rallies, which means the media was going to be looking for who had better attendance. Trump is the president of the United States. Bob has local name recognition being that this is his former congressional district. It was your run-of-the-mill Trump speech, with the president touting his accomplishments, trashing his enemies, and being a cheerleader for the country since Democrats have devolved into trashing America and wanting to destroy its vibrant economy through this Green New Deal. So, how many people did show up?
Via The Guardian [emphasis mine]:
President Donald Trump seized the chance to make the case for the construction of a border wall during a rally in El Paso that addressed topics far beyond immigration.
A big US flag along with three “finish the wall” banners lined the El Paso County Coliseum, making it clear immigration and border security were at the center of Trump’s speech. Mere days before another government shutdown deadline, the president sought to convince his supporters that he was planning to fulfil one of his signature campaign promises.
But saving the immigration portion of his rally for last, Trump resorted to themes familiar to many of his rallies, including North Korea, the Democrats and the Mueller investigation.
Trump touted his foreign policy strategy in Asia, confirming he plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the end of the month.
He made time to mock counter-demonstrators who had gathered at a nearby counter protest led by former congressman and potential presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. Trump derided the crowd size at the event, even though both men drew thousands.
According to local journalist Bob Moore, local officials estimated the attendance at Trump’s rally at close to 7,000 with another 6,000 watching on screens outside the venue. Approximately 7,000 people attended the counter protests.
NPR had more on the crowd size [emphasis mine]:
Trump claimed that O'Rourke had only drawn 200 or 300 to his protest while they had 35,000 people trying to get into his.
"That may be the end of his presidential bid," Trump said, mocking O'Rourke as "a young man who's got very little going for himself except a great first name."
"He's supposed to win in order to run," the president jabbed. "Beto was defeated," Trump said referring to the race against Cruz, as the president boasted of his own undefeated record in his first bid for elective office.
According to NBC News, O'Rourke's team said there were about 7,000 people at his rallyand mile-long march beforehand, per law enforcement. And Bloomberg News reported that O'Rourke's rally had been estimated at 10,000 to 15,000, according to local police. At various points during his own rally, Trump claimed that 69,000 people had RSVP'd and that fire marshals allowed 10,000 people in with "tens of thousands" still watching outside. But NBC News reported that Trump's rally was at its 6,500 capacity with 10,000 to 12,000 watching outsideor in overflow areas, per the local police and fire departments.
In either gauge, Trump’s rally was bigger. Yes, folks, the people in the overflow count. To make it more apparent, you could hear Trump’s rally music at Bob’s gathering a quarter mile away. As The Hill’sBuck Sexton noted, “You never want to be that guy who throws the lame party right across the street from the booming kegger.”
HD screenshot from CBS News' camera crew of Beto O'Rourke.— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 12, 2019
Terrible showing for Beto. pic.twitter.com/wFdW5vLHgO
It’s like watching tens of people come out for a bad local band https://t.co/Cg4QEo5Ebr— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 12, 2019
O’Rourke speaks and Trump rally music is audible coming from a quarter mile away pic.twitter.com/poJrTNAOGC— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 12, 2019
You never want to be that guy who throws the lame party right across the street from the booming kegger— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) February 12, 2019
Beto is that guy. https://t.co/jykWkgwIbv
In the grand scheme of things, these numbers really don’t matter. They’re looked into because Trump made the claims about the attendance, the media hates Trump, and they will do anything to discredit him. So, expect some more coverage about the dueling rallies and the crowd sizes, but it would appear Trump’s rally was better attended, as anyone would expect, and that Bob’s was very low energy.