Immigration continues to be a contentious issue in the United States amid a worsening border crisis and a presidential administration seemingly unable – or unwilling – to bring solutions. The problem has become so pronounced that some Republican governors have pledged to send National Guard troops to the south to assist a beleaguered Customs and Border Protection agency whose personnel have been stretched thin.
Former President Donald Trump joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to assess the situation at the southern border. The two Republican leaders later joined Fox News’ Sean Hannity for a town hall to discuss the migrant crisis and the Biden administration’s performance so far this year.
Meeting of Minds on Immigration
Earlier in the day, Hannity appeared on Fox and Friends to preview the town hall. He pointed out that the only reason Vice President Kamala Harris finally decided to visit the southern border after 90 days since she was appointed as the “border czar” is because “Donald Trump announced that he was going to the border.”
The Fox News host savaged the Biden administration for reversing Trump’s immigration policies. “They abolished the Stay in Mexico program, highly successful. They abolished building the wall. They not only brought back catch and release, but it’s basically catch, and we’ll process you and ‘have a good life in America’ program,” he said, adding: “Then they’re providing all of the services on the backs of the American taxpayer.”
During the town hall, Trump and Abbott weighed in on the border crisis and Biden’s mishandling of the affair. One member of the audience who stated that she was a legal immigrant from Nicaragua asked the former president what long-term “damage and destruction” President Joe Biden’s open borders agenda would do to the country.
“So it’s a very fair question. And I know you know that answer probably as well as everybody in this room. It’s incalculable how bad this is when you have not hundreds of thousands but millions of people storming into our country. Some of them, as we discussed, are from prisons and they’re bad and bad murderers. And all of the things that I said before, it is there’s no way to judge that kind of damage. And, you know, getting them out is an ordeal, and all sorts of things will happen.”
He added: “And it’s going to be very hard. But I will say this. It has to be stopped now. This can’t go until 2022.”
Gov. Abbott also chimed in, explaining how President Biden has failed to enforce America’s laws. He said:
“What’s happening here is the erosion of the social fabric of the United States of America. The United States of America was built upon the rule of law. And what the Biden administration is doing is not enforcing the rule of law. The first thing that happens for all the people they were letting in, they know they’re getting away with violating the rule of law that will erode the United States of America. It must be stopped.”
What About 2022?
After discussing immigration, Hannity turned the conversation to the 2022 and 2024 elections. He indicated that the Republican Party has a decent chance to take back the House and the Senate. Then, he asked how important it would be for the GOP to win those Senate races.
Trump responded, taking a shot at establishment GOP lawmakers. “I think without weak Republican RINO leadership, you’d win every one of them,” he said. “Dotted in there are people that you almost would say don’t like this country. They don’t like the Republican Party.”
The former president continued: “With strong Republican leadership in charge of those states, you’ll win every one of them. Without it, you won’t.”
Hannity turned to Gov. Abbott and asked what it meant to be the “conservative governor of Texas.” Abbott answered, noting that the Lone Star State is also “the state of people like Beto O’ Rourke” and that Texas is “in a battle for the soul of [Texas’] economy.” The governor continued, insisting that despite people like O’Rourke and Julian Castro pushing socialism, “We must keep Texas’ capitalism.”
The Big Question
Later in the interview, Hannity pondered the burning question on everyone’s mind: Is Trump going to run for re-election in 2024? However, he acknowledged that the former president would likely not answer this particular query. Instead, he asked: “Have you made up your mind?”
President Trump’s answer: “Yes.”
As the P.T. Barnum of politics, he will undoubtedly announce his decision at the moment when it best suits him.
After six months of media silence, Trump is back. It is a moment that the right has anticipated and the left has feared. Despite being banned from major social media platforms, the former president seems determined to make his presence known.
Not only is Trump making high-profile media appearances, he has also begun holding rallies again. He is expected to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) crowd in Dallas, Texas, with the event starting on July 9.
It is unknown whether the former president will run for re-election in 2024. But one thing seems clear: He is still at the helm of the conservative movement.
Read more from Jeff Charles.