It seems Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, while seeking a third term in 2022, is also seeking national attention as the second coming of Donald Trump.
The former president endorsed Abbott for re-election June 1.
“Greg Abbott is a fighter and a Great Governor for the incredible people of Texas,” Trump said in a written statement, praising Abbott’s record on issues including border security and gun rights.
“Governor Greg Abbott will continue to be a great leader for the Lone Star State, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement for re-election,” Trump’s statement said. “He will never let you down!”
So far, Abbott has done everything he can to curry favor with the 45th president – and the people who believe Trump actually beat Democrat Joe Biden last year.
Abbott has yet to add a huge golden forelock, or ride a golden escalator down to announce for president. But there’s still time for that.
Meantime, consider some of the Trump-to-Abbott handoffs:
Warning of illegal immigrants flooding in from Mexico? Check.
Building a “Great, Great Wall” on the border? Check.
Mexico will pay for it? Uhhh, well, maybe Texas instead, starting at $250 million. Plus, maybe some crowdfunding to help pay the rest.
But the state money may come from redirecting federal dollars allocated for expenses from the COVID-19 pandemic – a proposal roundly criticized by congressional Democrats.
Dissing as a war hero the since-deceased former five-year POW-turned-United States Senator John McCain -- because he was captured? Uhhh, don’t ask.
Abbott has re-energized Trump’s call for a Border Wall, even bringing Trump to the border June 30 to underline that work on it had ceased since Democrat Joe Biden replaced him in the Oval Office.
Democrats charge that Abbott’s invite to Trump was just to wrap himself in Trump’s coattails, and to change the subject.
Abbott wants to shift voters’ attention from state problems that Democrats say should be priorities.
Chief among them is fixing the state’s electrical power grid, that failed in the February Big Freeze that killed about 700 people, and recently was in danger of crashing during a summer heat wave.
Vicente Gonzalez, a Democratic congressman whose border district includes McAllen, said “Wasting taxpayer dollars to promote the construction of a border wall, instead of correcting the failed power grid, is bad leadership that is further putting Texans’ lives at risk.”
During their visit to the border, Abbott called the former president “a great friend of mine,” and said securing the border was “a job that you did, but a job the Biden Administration is completely failing us on.”
Had the Democrats not dropped the project, the wall could have been completed “in a couple months,” Trump insisted. “We were just about finished.”
Abbott’s hard turn to the right is due to his effort to pick up Trump’s mantle in the 2024 presidential sweepstakes, and in the interim, to get through the 2022 GOP primary.
For whatever it’s worth, Abbott’s desire to gain national publicity seems to be working – aided considerably by Democrats in the Texas House walking out to break a quorum to kill his bill to make voting more difficult. It made network news and probably will be the centerpiece for Abbott’s July 8 special session.
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