With less than nine days left in his presidency (unless he is removed from office or resigns), President Trump is making one last trip to Texas, prompting outcry from Texas Democrats. It will mark the first time Trump has left Washington D.C. since the insurrection at the Capitol from his supporters.
Trump is slated to arrive in Texas later today for a dedication of a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas. The White House is touting the trip to the border town in Hidalgo County as part of a “promises made, promises kept” victory lap celebrating his “big, beautiful” border wall, a signature campaign issue for Trump.
The San Antonio Express-News reported on a study from Customs and Border Protection that showed while 415 miles of the border wall were completed in four years, only 30 of those miles spanned new areas. Most of the new construction replaced fencing that was already built on the border.
While campaigning for president, “build that wall” became a frequent chant at rallies for President Trump. According to candidate Trump, Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has not paid for any portion of the wall.
Steve Bannon, a former Trump campaign chair and White House chief strategist, was indicted last year along with conservative activist Brian Kolfage, for defrauding donors through the nonprofit organization “We Build The Wall.” Bannon and Kolfage’s enterprise was billed as a private sector solution to funding the border wall, but federal prosecutors alleged they used a significant portion of the contributions for their personal use.
When Trump’s trip was first announced, Rep. Joaquin Castro pointed out the visit was self-serving, particularly as COVID-19 continues to cripple healthcare systems around the state and vaccine distribution remains limited. The Rio Grande Valley has been particularly hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. In Laredo, vaccine appointments were filled online nine minutes after opening.
Rep. Henry Cuellar also criticized the upcoming visit, and the border wall in general.
The Texas Democratic Party released a statement ahead of Trump’s visit. “Instead of focusing on distributing the vaccine for Texans most at-risk, apologizing for inciting domestic terrorists to attack our nation’s Capitol, or working to ensure a smooth transition for President-elect Biden, Donald Trump is once again coming to Texas to highlight his stupid wall that no one wanted, that he failed to build, and that Mexico did not pay for,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa.”
It’s unclear if any Texas Republicans will greet Trump on his visit to the Rio Grande Valley. Previously, a number of Texas Republicans have championed the border wall. Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s first speech in Congress defended the border wall and blasted Democrats for refusing to fund it.
The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on an article of impeachment Wednesday morning.
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