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By Mariana Atencio

SAN ANTONIO — Two days before the expected announcement of his presidential candidacy, Julián Castro described himself in an interview Thursday as “the antidote to Donald Trump.”

“Mine is an immigrant story,” said Castro, 44, formerly the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. “It’s an American dream story. It’s a testament that everybody counts in this country. And I look forward to sharing a vision where everybody, whether you’re Latino or any other background, you can reach your dreams in this country.”

Castro, whose grandmother migrated from Mexico in the 1920s, is expected to make the announcement Saturday in San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe, surrounded by his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, his wife, Erica, their two children and his mother, Maria “Rosie” Castro, a political activist.

In an interview at his house here as the president visited the state’s southern border with Mexico on Thursday, Castro called Trump’s planned border wall “a dumb way to use our resources.”

“What we don’t need is a wall that stretches the length of the border, some concrete wall that people are just going to be able to go over or go under,” he said.

A former mayor of San Antonio, a city in which Hispanics represent a majority, Castro made his case by emphasizing his roots and experience in comparison to the 20 or so other candidates expected to throw their hats into the ring — and particularly Beto O’Rourke, another young Texan making headlines.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about always having the shiniest words or approach, “Castro said. “People want to know that somebody has the right experience and that they have the right vision to make sure that their family can succeed in this country. And I have that.”

In 2012, after Castro gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, some called him the future of the party. But he has since been eclipsed by other Democratic stars.

“Well, I’m not the frontrunner,“ he jokingly acknowledged. “But, you know, I don’t think I can think of one time in my life where I was the frontrunner. If you go to the neighborhood that I grew up in, nobody that was growing up there was the frontrunner. And today, in this country, there are a lot of people that don’t feel like the frontrunner. … Fundamentally, this campaign is not going to be about me.”

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‘We are ALL Irish!’ Belgian foreign minister slaps UK with BREXIT WARNING

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BELGIUM’S top diplomat has rejected suggestions the European Union might consider any Brexit deal that runs the risk a return of checkpoints on the border with Northern Ireland.

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Trump will deliver a State of the Union speech — location to be determined

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump may deliver a State of the Union address Jan. 29 after all, a senior administration official confirmed to NBC News.

But White House speechwriters are also working on drafts that could be used if he chooses a different venue.

Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent Trump a letter suggesting that he delay his annual speech or submit it in writing because of a partial government shutdown that is now in its fifth week. She cited security concerns because the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, is one of the agencies affected by the shutdown.

DHS officials said there were no concerns about going through with the address, which is typically held in the House chamber before a joint session of Congress.

The White House sent a note to the House sergeant-at-arms over the weekend requesting a “walk through” this week. Before asking Trump to hold off, Pelosi had invited him to speak on Jan. 29. A White House official said Tuesday: “she invited, we accepted.”

But the senior administration official said White House speechwriters are working on “separate passages” that could lend themselves to a speech at a different venue and for a different audience than members of Congress.

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Brexit PREPARATIONS: Airline caterers STOCKPILE meals as no deal Brexit looms

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AIRLINE caterers are bracing for a no deal Brexit by stockpiling in-flight meals and commodities needed on an airplane to avoid any disruption that could be sparked if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

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