Former President Donald Trump's trip to the border Wednesday is expected to showcase a key campaign issue that will excite the GOP base in a push to win the House and Senate back in the 2022 midterm elections.
“Republicans understand what a severe case of invasion and illegal behavior we have at the border. And the Biden administration has done nothing about it,” Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, who is joining in the tour, told The Hill. "(Trump) is going to reemphasize that we should continue to build the wall and that catch-and-release needs to be stopped.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will join Trump in the Rio Grande Valley visit. First, the Republican governor will join Trump in Weslaco for a roundtable talk on border security.
After that, Trump and Abbott will tour the border wall, along with two dozen members of the House Republican Study Committee, which includes Williams and is led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.
Later in the afternoon, Trump and Abbott will participate in a town hall in a hangar in the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg. The event will be moderated by Fox News' Sean Hannity and will be attended by supporters of the former president, reports The Hill.
The trip to Texas is Trump's second major public appearance in less than a week, after he held a massive campaign rally on Saturday in Ohio, during which he campaigned against GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol.
The former president is also planning a large Fourth of July rally at the fairgrounds in Sarasota, Fla., this weekend.
Trump has continued to make it clear that he plans to act as kingmaker while rewarding loyalists with endorsements in their congressional and other races, and is flirting with another run for the White House in 2024.
His trip to the Texas border comes after he and other Republicans repeatedly slammed Vice President Kamala Harris after she did not visit the border for several weeks after President Joe Biden appointed her to lead the administration's response to the immigrant surge that has been happening since he took office.
She visited El Paso on Friday, announcing the trip after Trump announced his, and came under fire for visiting a location that is not considered the epicenter of the immigration crisis.
"Kamala Harris, your vice president, only went to the border yesterday for the one simple reason: that I announced that I was going,” Trump said at Saturday's rally. “If I didn’t do that, I don’t know if she was ever going to go.”
Trump last visited the McAllen, Texas, area on Jan. 12, a few days before he left office.
Meanwhile, Republicans gained unexpected votes from Hispanic voters in the Rio Grande Valley in the 2020 election, and the party got another push recently with Republican Javier Villalobos defeating Democrat Veronica Vela Whitacre by roughly 200 votes in McAllen's mayoral race. The city's population is 85% Hispanic.
“The president made tremendous inroads in the Hispanic vote down in the Valley,” said Williams. "They think like we Republicans do: They want less government, and they want to be free to realize their dreams, and these Democrats have taken that for granted.”
The region's Hispanic voters also consider border security to be a key issue, said Williams.
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