Trump headed to U.S.-Mexico border to tout border wall construction
President Donald Trump is visiting Texas on Tuesday in the waning days of his presidency as a historic second impeachment looms around the corner.
Trump’s visit, intended to celebrate the construction of the border wall he sought while was in office, comes roughly one week after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the certification of the 2020 election.
The president is scheduled to land at the Valley International Airport in Harlingen early Tuesday afternoon, and then make the roughly one-hour drive to the town of Alamo, Texas, to make an appearance. The details and precise timing have not been publicized.
Alamo, a border town in Texas, is roughly 200 miles south of San Antonio near McAllen. (KSAT will have coverage on-air and online from his trip, including live streams in this article.)
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives has set a deadline for Vice President Mike Pence to decide on invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for his role in inciting violence on Jan. 6. If Pence decides not to act by Wednesday, the House plans to have Trump impeached on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
Here’s what you need to know about Trump’s Texas visit on Tuesday.
The border wall was Trump’s cornerstone platform in the 2016 campaign
Trump’s 2016 campaign focused sharply on building a border wall that Mexico would pay for.
According to the administration, his trip on Tuesday is to mark the completion of 400 miles of border wall constructed during his presidency. However, the money came out of the pockets of U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico’s.
In prioritized areas, where the wall could be built faster, crews have blasted hills and bulldozed sensitive habitats in national wildlife refuges and on American Indian land to do it, according to the Associated Press.
“I think he’s got much bigger issues than coming over and seeing his 14th-century solution called ‘The Wall,’” U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who represents western Hidalgo County told. “But, as you know, he started his campaign attacking Mexico and building the wall and all that. And I think he wants to end his term the same way.”
Trump won’t be greeted by his usual entourage
Usually, Gov. Greg Abbott receives Trump when he visits the state.
But with Tuesday marking the start of the state’s biennial legislature, Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stayed in Austin to work with lawmakers on what is expected to be a busy legislative session.
Abbott would not directly criticize Trump’s rhetoric ahead of the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol during his first public appearance since the siege on Monday. Instead, the governor focused on what he perceives to be censorship of conservatives on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“Typically, any company has the right to make whatever decisions they wanted to with regard to who may use their product,” Abbott said. “However, what we have in some social media companies is different, because they have been given a unique grant of civil liability immunity to maintain an open platform. It seems like they are no longer complying with the open platform that allows them to receive civil liability immunity. They cannot have it both ways.”
In Washington, impeachment looms large
Many Democratic lawmakers and even some Republican members of Congress want Trump out of office as soon as possible.
Trump has remained defiant amid growing calls for his resignation, planning to spend his last week in office celebrating his last four years.
Unless Pence invokes the 25th Amendment, which is unlikely, the House will have Trump impeached and charged with “incitement of insurrection.”
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” reads the four-page impeachment bill. “He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
Though Trump may not be tried by the Senate until his term expires, the Senate can still convict Trump and bar him from running for president again.
Trump’s loyalists have argued that impeachment would only further divide the country.
“They’re not only going to create bad feelings in Congress, but they’re also really going to create tremendously bad feelings in America,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.
Texas Democrat Julián Castro to speak at counter-rally
Texas Democrat Julián Castro and civil rights organizations will hold a counter-rally in San Juan, Texas, to condemn the president following the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol last week, organizers said.
Organizers said community members have seen the president’s “dangerous and destructive” immigration agenda first hand, and his visit is a “publicity stunt.”
The rally is slated to begin at noon at La Unión del Pueblo Entero Office in San Juan, just miles from where Trump is expected to visit in the City of Alamo.
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is among the Democrats who have called for Trump’s removal.
City of Alamo officials have ‘no details’ of Trump’s visit
As of Tuesday morning, the City of Alamo said officials have still not been officially contacted about the president’s itinerary.
City Manager Robert Salinas said they have “no details,” and have received multiple phone calls and emails regarding the commemoration.
“…As you can see we cannot comment any further,” Salinas said.
The City of Alamo has pleaded for protestors and Trump supporters to act peacefully.
The president’s visit to the small border town comes nearly two years after a “Make America Great Again” rally in El Paso — a city in which his team still owes money for.