Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement to endorse Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for reelection, praising the governor for his policies on the U.S. southern border, the Second Amendment, and election integrity.
“Greg Abbott is a fighter and a Great Governor for the incredible people of Texas,” the former president said in a statement circulated by his Save America political action committee. “No Governor has done more to secure the Border and keep our communities safe than Governor Abbott. Greg is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and has made Texas a Second Amendment Sanctuary State.”
“Texas has become a job-creating machine, and our partnership helped restore America’s economic power and success. Greg is also very tough on crime, fully supports the brave men and women of Law Enforcement, and is all in on Election Integrity. 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. He will never let you down!”
In response, Abbott has expressed appreciation over Trump’s endorsement, saying the former president is a “great friend of Texas.”
“I am proud of the work we have done together to secure our border, bring more jobs to Texas, and protect the freedoms that make America and Texas great-and we are just getting started. I thank President Trump for his leadership, and I will continue to fight for the values that make Texas the greatest state in America,” Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday.
This comes in the same week Abbott announced his intention to defund the legislative branch after Texas Democrats staged a walkout on the House floor in an effort to prevent the passage of a sweeping election reform bill. Abbott argued that lawmakers who “abandon their responsibilities” to their constituents should be penalized for their actions.
The move, which seeks to push the state House to pass the voting bill, has been criticized as it is unlikely to affect state legislators who earn only $7,200 per year when not in session and $38,140 when in session, and may have outside employment when not in session. But the veto could affect legislative staff.
The measure, which has already passed the state Senate on party lines, would grant more power to poll watchers by giving them more access inside polling areas, while creating new penalties against election officials who restrict poll watchers’ movements. The proposal would also allow a judge to void the outcome of an election if the number of fraudulent votes could change the result.
Officials who send mail-in ballots to people who didn’t request them could also face criminal penalties, should the bill be enacted into law.
Democrats said on May 30 that the walkout was their “last tool” to kill the bill after attempts to push back on it. The lawmakers are concerned that the bill would add voting barriers for minority groups and amount to voter suppression.
Abbott has also spearheaded efforts in his state to address the surge of illegal immigration and target crimes associated with the humanitarian crisis. In March, the state launched Operation Lone Star to deploy resources to prevent Mexican criminal organizations from smuggling drugs and people into Texas.
On Tuesday night, Abbott issued a disaster declaration along the Texas southern border in response to the humanitarian crisis. The declaration would provide more resources in assistance to curbing the flow of illegal immigration in the area.
The declaration authorizes the use of all necessary and available state and local resources to protect landowners, directs the Texas Department of Public Safety to crack down on criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking, and directs the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to discontinue state licensure of any child care facility under a contract with the federal government that shelters or detains unlawful immigrants.
“President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities,” Abbott said in a statement.
“Meanwhile, landowners along the border are seeing their property damaged and vandalized on a daily basis while the Biden Administration does nothing to protect them. Texas continues to step up to confront the border crisis in the federal government’s absence, but more must be done.
“By declaring a state of disaster in these counties, Texas will have more resources and strategies at our disposal to protect landowners and enforce all federal and state laws to combat criminal activities stemming from the border crisis. Working together with local law enforcement, the state will continue to take robust and meaningful action to keep our communities safe,” he added.
Abbott has also previously said he would sign a bill allowing people to carry handguns without a license. The bill was approved by both chambers of the state legislature and has headed to Abbott’s desk.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.