President Donald Trump told the crowd at his rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday that he got special permission from the El Paso Fire Department to let 10,000 people inside the El Paso County Coliseum.
El Paso Fire Department spokesman Enrique D. Aguilar told The El Paso Times that not only did the fire department not give Trump special permission, but the Coliseum had about 6,500 people in it during the president’s rally. Aguilar says that number was at capacity and well within its standard allowance.
The spokesman added that “it might be 10,000 with the people outside” total, but the fire department didn’t track the number of people outside the venue. While the number Trump quoted about his attendees might not have been far off, he blatantly lied that he got special permission, according to Aguilar.
“Now the arena holds 8,000,” said Trump, during the rally. “And thank you, fire department. They got in about 10,000. Thank you, fire department. Appreciate it.”
Trump also claimed 75,000 people signed up to attend the rally, according to ABC News. The rally was dedicated to advocating for the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and didn’t do much to mend the relationship between officials in the city and the president.
Trump’s has previously claimed El Paso was one of the country’s most dangerous cities prior to the construction of a government-sanctioned fence dividing the city and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. Additionally, Trump’s campaign has even circulated a video that alleges he made the city safer.
El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the country, as per the New York Times. The publication notes that the city “has had a consistently lower crime rate than the average among more than 20 similarly sized cities, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who had previously challenged Republicans for a Senate seat, and other El Paso leaders led a counter-demonstration to Trump’s rally on Monday. Trump addressed their protest at the rally and bloviated about the number of people in attendance yet again:
“A young man who’s got very little going for himself, except he’s got a great first name… He challenged us. So we have let’s, say, 35,000 people tonight. And he has 200 people, 300 people. Not too good,” said Trump, who then said of O’Rourke:
“In fact, what I’d do, what I would say is that may be the end of his presidential bid.”