It started with the border wall and ended at the border wall.
After announcing his candidacy for president in 2015 by campaigning for stronger borders and a restrictive immigration policy, President Donald J. Trump made his second – and last presidential – visit to the Rio Grande Valley Tuesday.
The President held a press conference in Alamo to mark the 45th mile of new border wall that was constructed under his administration. The President previously visited the Valley in 2019 and his latest trip occurred with over a week to go before the inauguration of a new president.
News of his visit drew criticism from officials and local organizations, along with support from Trump’s growing fan base in the Valley.
The President made his first public appearance since a riot broke out in the U.S. Capital last week that killed five people as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Trump has been accused of inciting the attack by holding a rally prior to the riot where he expressed support for those protesting the certification of the votes. Though Trump refused to take responsibility for the attack, he condemned those who participated in it.
“Millions of our citizens watched… as a mob stormed the Capitol and trashed the halls of government,” the President said Tuesday. “As I have consistently said throughout my administration, we believe in respecting America’s history and traditions, not tearing them down. We believe in the rule of law, not in violence or rioting.”
Due to his alleged involvement in inciting these attacks, as well as spending months spouting unfounded claims of voter fraud, Democrats are seeking to impeach the president. Trump called the proposed impeachment “an assault on free speech.”
“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” the President said. “The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and it is causing tremendous anger and division and pain — far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”
During his nearly 21-minute long speech, Trump focused on immigration issues and touted the construction of the border wall which he campaigned for.
“Looking at our wall, we reformed our immigration system and achieved the most secure southern border in U.S. history. It is at a level that it’s never been before,” Trump said. “It wasn’t easy getting it built. Getting it financed was tough. Getting it built was even tougher. All the different chains of title and all the different things we had to go through — very, very complex and very difficult, but we got it done.”
As part of his campaign, Trump promised the construction of up to 1,000 miles of new border wall throughout his administration that Mexico would pay for. Tuesday’s visit marked the completion of about 450 miles of border wall funded by the U.S. Government. According to a report from NBC News only 47 of the 450 miles represent brand new border wall structures along the 2,000-mile-long border area.
“I kept my promises,” Trump said, adding that an additional 300 miles of border wall will be added. “And today we celebrate an extraordinary milestone: the completion of the promised 450 miles of border wall. Four hundred and fifty miles. Nobody realizes how big that is.”
*For the extended story featuring local reactions to Trump’s visit, pick up Friday’s edition of the Progress Times wherever our newsstands are available.*