Monday, March 4, 2024

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas endorsed former President Donald J. Trump on Sunday in an appearance near the southern border, echoing Mr. Trump’s talk about an existential crisis of illegal immigration.

“I’m here to tell you that there is no way, no way that America can continue under the leadership of Joe Biden as our president,” Mr. Abbott said in Edinburg, Texas, after he and Mr. Trump greeted Border Patrol agents. “We need a president who’s going to secure the border. We need a president who’s going to restore law and order in the United States of America.”

Mr. Abbott, a three-term governor with a strongly conservative record, castigated President Biden for reversing Trump-era policies that had expedited deportations and required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting hearings, and claimed that Mr. Biden was facilitating terrorism.

Mr. Abbott has taken extraordinary measures on border crossings during the Biden administration — including putting razor wire along the border and buoys in the Rio Grande — that have injured many migrants. Under his administration, Texas has also bused tens of thousands of newly arrived migrants around the country, frequently to big cities run by Democrats.

His aggressive policies align him closely with Mr. Trump, whose plans if elected to a second term include detaining undocumented immigrants in camps, relying on a form of expulsion that doesn’t involve due process hearings, and deputizing local police officers and National Guard troops from Republican-led states to carry out immigration raids.

Mr. Trump took to the microphone after the endorsement and gave an unusually short speech: just 10 minutes long, compared with his 75-minute address in Iowa on Saturday and nearly two hours in New Hampshire last weekend. Mr. Trump’s appearance at the border did not bear resemblance to his typical campaign events this year, and it was not widely open to supporters.

“We’re going to make the governor’s job very easy,” he said, suggesting that his immigration policies would remove the need for Mr. Abbott to handle the issue and claiming falsely that Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had never visited the border.

“Our country is going to hell,” he added, before returning to familiar territory of demonizing his political opponents: “We have some people that either they don’t care, they’re not very smart or they hate our country, and nobody really knows the answer.”

Both this weekend and last, he had railed at length against President Biden and vowed vengeance upon his opponents, whom he described as “vermin” who posed a greater threat to the country than any outside force — rhetoric reminiscent of fascist dictators like Hitler and Mussolini.

Mr. Trump has received endorsements from a number of Republican governors in addition to Mr. Abbott, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, Henry McMaster of South Carolina and Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

However, he did not secure the endorsement of Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s popular governor, who is instead backing Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

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