WESLACO, Texas (KVEO) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Former President Donald Trump held a briefing in the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday.
The visit to the Rio Grande Valley comes after Abbott’s announcement for the construction of a border wall in Texas.
“Texas is stepping up, and doing more than any other state has ever done to respond to these challenges along the border,” said Abbott in a press conference held earlier this month.
“Mr. [former] President, things have changed so quickly and so dramatically under the Biden administration. It’s been amazing and disastrous,” Abbott began on Wednesday’s briefing.
Gov. Abbott stated he was taking action at the border as the federal government wasn’t taking action.
Trump echoed Abbott’s sentiments and said: “The border has never been this way. We went from the best border we’ve ever had in the history of our country… it’s the best by far.”
During the briefing, Trump said Democrats are attempting to blame the GOP as it “defunds police.”
He did not, however, elaborate on how they relate to the Texas-Mexico border.
Abbott also said Vice President Kamala Harris was misleading America after she made a trip to the border.
“The fact of the matter is there are people coming into the United States from across our border than more than 150 countries across the entire globe. If she solves the problems in those three countries — which we know she can’t — that means there are still 147 other countries to go to solve problems there. They’re missing the point.” said Abbott.
During the briefing, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven C. McCraw said in a year, there has been an increase of 527.4% when it comes to apprehensions.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill E. Waybourn spoke about fentanyl “flooding” the streets of Fort Worth.
“Coming in from China?,” Trump asked. “No, sir. It’s coming from the cartel,” Waybourn responded.
Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez said that between June 22 and June 25, his office recovered seven bodies from the brush.
Martinez added he has seen a 185% increase in apprehensions and a 490% increase in 911 calls.
At the end of the briefing, Trump indicated he would be endorsing a candidate “very soon” and asked Texas Attorney Ken Paxton how many people were running against him.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd and McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos were in attendance but did not speak.
Trump and Abbott took a tour of an unfinished section of the border wall after the briefing.
The full details of the plan to build the border wall are limited, however, Abbott announced he is looking to hire a project manager that will oversee the construction of the wall, including personnel and resources needed.
On June 28, Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that Texas had begun building its state border barrier.
Building the border barrier has begun.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 28, 2021
The 1st step is to get easements on land.
The 2nd step is to clear the land for the building process.
That is what is happening here.
The Texas Facilities Commission is working to hire a program manager to oversee the entire process. pic.twitter.com/n9JUN0CymL
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said that he would give emergency authorization to the governor to build the wall on state lands.
Abbott is also requesting county leaders to submit a budget for his administration’s plans to increase border security through the Border Budget Forecast Form, which will be sent to the Texas Legislature.
The governor’s plan has faced opposition from immigration and environmental advocates, legal experts, law enforcement officials, and more. However, Abbott is still adamant about getting the border wall built across the Texas-Mexico border.
Congressmen Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez released a joint statement on Wednesday stating it is a distraction for their failed leadership.
“Inviting the former President, who incited the January 6th insurrection in an effort to overthrow the government and prevent the peaceful transition of power, is nothing short of a slap in the face to South Texans,” said Gonzalez. “And wasting taxpayer dollars to promote the construction of a border wall instead of correcting the failed electrical grid is bad leadership that is further putting Texans’ lives at risk.”
“Governor Abbott and former President Donald Trump are once again trying to draw attention away from their failed leadership,” said Vela. “The state of Texas has gone through so much this past year, the pandemic, the massive power outages that resulted in so many lives lost, and now an unemployment rate that is double what we saw before the virus. Instead of prioritizing Texans and making sure we grow our economy and get people back to work, Governor Abbott is creating a distracting media circus with a failed former president.”
“It’s not going to go fast, because you have to go back and start the whole thing up again with Mexico, and with the three countries,” concluded Trump in relation to the construction of the border wall. “It’s not that easy, this was a lot of hard work and very good negotiation… It’s not that easy to go back.”
Media was not allowed to ask questions at either event.