Donald Trump will return to the campaign trail tonight, just three months removed from last fall's midterm elections, and roughly 20 months before his own re-election bid. The president is not, however, headed for a competitive battleground, but rather, is headlining an event in El Paso, Texas.
For Trump, the city in western Texas is of particular significance because its recent successes are, by the Republican's version of events, emblematic of a larger truth.
"The border city of El Paso, Texas used to have extremely high rates of violent crime -- one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities," the president argued in his State of the Union address. "Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put: Walls work, and walls save lives."
The argument has a certain simplistic appeal: the border city was incredibly dangerous, then it got a wall, and now it's incredibly safe. Ergo, border walls are effective at improving security.
The problem, of course, is that Trump either has no idea what he's talking point or he assumes you're easily fooled.
According to law enforcement data, the city had low crime rates well before a border barrier was constructed between 2008 and mid-2009.
Violent crime has been dropping in El Paso since its modern-day peak in 1993 and was at historic lows before a fence was authorized by Congress in 2006. Violent crime actually ticked up during the border fence's construction and after its completion, according to police data collected by the FBI.
As Trump lies go, this one stands out for a couple of reasons. First, it was carefully scripted. It's one thing when the president peddles nonsense because he got confused by something he saw on television, or because he cooked up some oddity in his overactive imagination. But in a State of the Union address, which the Republican read from his trusted teleprompter, the standards are supposed to be higher.
And yet, Trump's claims were brazenly untrue. At no point in recent memory was El Paso one of the nation's most dangerous cities, and at no point after it received border barriers did the city see a sharp drop in the crime rate.
Even local Republicans didn't appreciate the president lying so shamelessly about their community.