On Wednesday afternoon, former President Donald Trump traveled to South Texas to visit a portion of the unfinished border wall constructed during his administration.
Just earlier this year, the Texas Legislature refused to complete that same wall. Though legislation was filed by State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) to enable Texas to complete construction of the wall (and even naming it the Donald J. Trump Border Wall), the effort was killed when the chair of the State Affairs Committee, State Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall), refused to set a hearing for the bill.
Another bill by State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood), which would have allowed for an interstate compact to help Texas secure its borders, passed the Senate but died in the House.
But despite declining to name border security a priority item for the Legislature this year (instead electing to make rural broadband expansion his top priority), Gov. Greg Abbott has leaned heavily into the issue in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Abbott declared a state of disaster along the border and directed $250 million of state funds toward a “down payment” to begin the construction of a southern border wall.
But while his original declaration covered all the counties along the border, Abbott revised his declaration this week, removing several high-traffic areas along the border, including El Paso, Laredo, and the Rio Grande Valley.
Even Hidalgo County, where Trump and Abbott visited, has now been made exempt from Abbott’s declaration.
Still, however, the event attracted a crowd of state lawmakers and some congressional members from out of state, including U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), and Darrell Issa (CA).
Trump told the crowd, gathered near the bridge connecting Pharr with the Mexican city of Reynosa, if he were still president, the wall would be “painted and finished” instead of “sitting there, rotting.”
Trump’s visit comes not long after he endorsed Abbott’s re-election campaign earlier this month.
During a round table meeting earlier in the day, Abbott said it was “a pleasure to have President Trump back in Texas,” adding that the border was secure under Trump, but is now “amazing and disastrous.”