Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed former President Donald Trump on Sunday in the latter’s bid to become the Republican Party’s next presidential candidate.
The governor hosted Trump at the Texas-Mexico border, where the two served meals to more than 240 members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other law enforcement and first responder personnel stationed in Hidalgo County, according to a press release.
“Today, I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President. Now more than ever, America needs a President who will secure the border and prioritize national security,” wrote Abbott in a social media post. “President Trump is the clear choice to get the job done.”
Border security has been a top issue of Abbott’s amid ongoing conflict with the federal government over what measures the state can take to defend its border from unlawful migration, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
“I am proud to be with President Trump here today to thank the thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers who are stationed along the border for Operation Lone Star to respond to President Biden’s border crisis,” said Abbott, per the press release. “This Thanksgiving, as they are away from their families and loved ones, may we remember the sacrifices these brave men and women in uniform make every day to ensure the safety and security of all Texans and Americans.”
Trump called Abbott’s endorsement a “tremendous honor,” commending the governor on what he has been able to do to secure the state’s border.
“Mr. Governor, I am going to make your job much easier. You’ll be able to focus on other things in Texas,” Trump claimed, according to The Texas Tribune.
The former president has been running at the head of the pack in the Republican primary, leading by comfortable double-digits in Iowa and New Hampshire. In Texas, where Trump also leads his Republican counterparts, Trump is the only Republican candidate to lead President Joe Biden outside the margin of error, according to a poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, The Dallas Express reported.
It is unclear how Trump’s myriad of ongoing legal issues — both civil and criminal — will ultimately impact his chances of becoming president again. However, Biden’s own support has seemed precarious as of late.
A New York Times-Siena College poll released earlier in November showed Trump leading Biden in five battleground states. The poll suggested voters have little confidence in Biden’s ability to fix what they perceive to be a troubled economy.
On Saturday, before Abbott endorsed Trump, a Biden staffer lambasted Sunday’s planned event and criticized the former president’s approach to border security.
“[His] trip to Texas is not about securing the border,” said Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, per The Texas Tribune. “It’s just another photo-op with what we know is one of the most anti-immigrant governors, whose policies have forced vulnerable women and children into horrific conditions.”