Trump visits South Texas border amid shift in area towards Republicans

2021-07-01 06:13:42

On this moist, humid Wednesday on the South Texas border, Trump met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and greater than 20 Home Republicans and native border officers to debate efforts to construct a wall, an echo of years and campaigns previous. The go to served Trump a public house to vent his frustrations, and served as an act of loyalty of kinds for the Republicans clustered round him. It additionally highlighted Republicans’ need to push immigration to the forefront amid the continued border disaster.

Trump flew into the Rio Grande Valley within the morning and sat subsequent to Abbott for a roundtable with Republicans and Texas leaders on efforts to construct the wall. He largely stayed on message throughout his remarks on the roundtable, touting his administration’s immigration insurance policies, comparable to constructing the border wall and his “Stay in Mexico” coverage. However moments of his previous frustrations, together with the Russia investigation and his loss within the 2020 presidential election, additionally popped up throughout his remarks.

Earlier than the assembly with Trump on Wednesday, nearly all of Home Republicans arrived at McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday evening and visited a part of the porous border wall on a tour led by Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, the chairman of the Republican Research Committee.

One after the other, the Home Republicans took turns taking photographs and doing livestream interviews with conservative media at an open spot of the border wall close to La Joya at midnight Tuesday. Some migrants, largely younger girls and kids, might be seen strolling to show themselves in to Border Patrol brokers close to the wall. Conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, translated by a conservative media reporter who spoke Spanish, spoke to girls about why they had been crossing into the US and the place they initially got here from.

It is clear Republicans see the problem on the border as a serious speaking level forward of the midterm elections, with hopes to regain management of the Home. And Trump goes to assist them.

The Rio Grande Valley shifts towards GOP

The encircling space of McAllen, made up of 4 counties in Texas and populated by greater than 1 million individuals who determine predominantly as Hispanic, has seen a dramatic shift in politics within the final 12 months.

Republicans got here nearer than in earlier a long time to profitable a Home seat within the district within the 2020 election, giving the social gathering hope they will flip the realm pink.

Democrats within the space and throughout the nation are baffled by the change. They surprise what’s driving voters to lean Republican when the realm has been staunchly Democrat for many years.

The shift grew to become clear when Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez got here inside 4 factors of shedding his seat to the Republican candidate, Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez, who’s once more difficult him within the 2022 election.

The Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee, the marketing campaign arm for Home Republicans, is focusing on a handful of weak Democrats, together with Gonzalez.

“Democrats’ insurance policies have created a disaster alongside the border, brought about the worth of on a regular basis items to skyrocket, and pursued a harmful socialist agenda that threatens Texas households. The McAllen mayor’s race was the canary within the coal mine for Vicente Gonzalez, who’s doomed in 2022,” Michael McAdams, spokesperson for the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee, instructed CNN in a press release.

One other Democratic congressman who represents a district within the space, Filemon Vela, introduced earlier this 12 months he wouldn’t run for reelection after he received his final race by 55% in November.

A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Marketing campaign Committee, Home Democrats’ marketing campaign arm, instructed CNN they’re dedicated to serving to Gonzalez.

“Not a single Republican can take credit score for the financial comeback that’s creating jobs and boosting enterprise throughout Texas proper now, and voters will bear in mind,” mentioned spokesperson Monica Robinson. “With a poisonous model like that, profitable seats in South Texas is nothing greater than a Republican pipe dream. Democrats are targeted on the problems Texans care about, and we’re investing sooner than ever to ship that message door-to-door and mobilize our voters throughout South Texas.”

Most notable is the brand new McAllen mayor, Javier Villalobos, a Republican who was praised by Republican state and nationwide lawmakers and voices for changing into the primary GOP mayor within the metropolis in current historical past, although the race was a nonpartisan election.

Gonzalez slammed Trump’s go to with Abbott in a press release, arguing that he is dividing the border neighborhood.

“Inviting the previous President, who incited the January sixth riot in an effort to overthrow the federal government and forestall the peaceable transition of energy, is nothing in need of a slap within the face to South Texans,” Gonzalez mentioned. “As a substitute of coming all the way down to attempt to divide folks by misrepresenting the border neighborhood on the nationwide stage, I urge the Governor to work collectively to enact significant coverage options that can convey actual border safety.”

This shift is just not misplaced on Trump, who referenced Vice President Kamala Harris’ go to to El Paso final week, a border metropolis that is greater than 750 miles away.

“We will the true border with actual issues, not an element the place you go searching and do not see something,” Trump mentioned, referencing GOP criticism of Harris’ go to.

The Biden administration appointed Harris to guide diplomatic efforts with the Northern Triangle, amid an inflow of unaccompanied migrant kids crossing the US-Mexico border. She visited El Paso to see a migrant processing middle, after elevated criticism for not having visited the US-Mexico border and a rocky first overseas journey to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month.

A report variety of unaccompanied kids crossed into the US this spring, additional intensifying GOP criticism of the Biden administration’s dealing with of border points. US Customs and Border Safety encountered greater than 180,000 migrants on the southern border in Could, placing the US on monitor to surpass the variety of border crossings in fiscal 12 months 2019. Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned Friday that the administration has made “extraordinary progress” in coping with the state of affairs on the border since March.

However it’s nonetheless politics. The Democratic Nationwide Committee was fast to slam Trump’s go to.

“Donald Trump and Republicans are bringing their clown present on the highway in a determined try and attempt to spin their merciless border insurance policies to mislead voters. For 4 years, Republicans had been silent as Trump sabotaged our immigration system and threw it into chaos. If Republicans had been severe about addressing points on the border, they’d be part of President Biden and Democrats in working to scrub up the mess they left behind, create a secure and humane immigration system, and at last move immigration reform. Something much less is political theatre,” DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa mentioned in a press release to CNN.

Choose committee vote within the Home

In the meantime, greater than 1,700 miles away, as Trump was talking in regards to the border in a choreographed occasion by a bit of unfinished border wall, the Home handed a decision to create a choose committee to research the January 6 riot after efforts for a bipartisan panel to research the occasions of the day failed within the Senate.

Trump was flanked by Abbott, the Home Republicans, former performing Secretary of Homeland Safety Chad Wolf, senior adviser Stephen Miller and newly added spokesperson Liz Harrington.

Out of the greater than two dozen Home Republicans who made the border go to, solely a handful submitted proxy votes on creation of the choose committee — a transfer meant for use just for causes associated to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If there’s any indication, nevertheless, of the place the Republican Occasion stands on the Capitol assault, this second was one in every of them.

On the finish of the occasion, CNN’s Jim Acosta requested Trump whether or not he ought to apologize for the January 6 riot as he exited the riser after his remarks.

The viewers, full of Home Republicans and different Trump allies, booed in response and did not let Trump reply.

CNN’s Jim Acosta and Alexander Hunter contributed to this report.

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