Less than a week after calling for the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, to be taken down, former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) backtracked on Tuesday, saying he believes “there is a role for physical barriers in some places” along the U.S-Mexico border.
“I think there are in some places a need for a physical barrier, and here’s what I would do: I would work with local stakeholders, the property owners, the communities, those who actually live there, to determine the best security solution,” he reportedly said after receiving the “El Pasoan of the Year” award, according to CNN. “We saw in El Paso a solution in search of a problem imposed on us by people who did not live here.”
According to the Associated Press, O’Rourke claimed that he is “just as concerned about border security and safety as anyone” because he is raising his “kids a short walk from the U.S.-Mexico border.” But O’Rourke reportedly insisted that “we won’t achieve that safety and security through walls.”
Last week, MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked O’Rourke in El Paso: “If you could, would you take the wall down here now?”
O’Rourke responded: “Yes, absolutely, I would take the wall down.”
In recent weeks, O’Rourke told Oprah Winfrey that a border wall is a “racist response to a problem we don’t have” and headlined a protest against Trump’s border wall when Trump visited El Paso, Texas, for a campaign rally.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump mocked O’Rourke for wanting to take down existing walls.
“I think that’s probably the end of his political career,” Trump said.
O’Rourke, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, reportedly intends to make a decision about whether to enter the presidential race by the end of February.