But in restoring Texas to its place as Washington’s chief antagonist, Abbott is also doing something more revealing: Facing criticism from Republican activists for the mask mandate and business restrictions he imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, he is covering his right flank, while re-elevating immigration and border security — a major concern to Republican base voters — as a national issue. Just as important, he is carving out a distinct lane in the GOP’s presidential sweepstakes at a time when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is beginning to rise in stature among the party grassroots.
Bill Pozzi, the GOP chair in heavily Republican Victoria County, said Abbott’s aggressiveness on border policy represents a “mea culpa” to conservatives for his handling of the pandemic. Still, he said Abbott is “doing the exact right thing.”
“I don’t get why we’re so reluctant to challenge the federal government,” Pozzi said. “The federal government is vulnerable, and when they’re making so many terrible decisions, come on. Who made them God? They’re not God.”
It was only four months ago that Abbott was suffering a beating in Texas for his handling of the deadly winter storm and electrical grid failure in the state. Millions of Texans were left freezing in their homes, while Abbott came under criticism for echoing misleading claims that renewable energy was to blame. Meanwhile, Abbott’s issuance of a statewide mask mandate and business restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic enraged conservatives.
In a major lift for his rehabilitation with the base, former President Donald Trump, who has already endorsed Abbott’s reelection campaign, will appear with him along the U.S.-Mexico border next week — a coronation of sorts in the GOP’s anti-Biden crusade.
“With Trump’s endorsement and his trip down to the border, and frankly what [Abbott] has said on the border the last couple of weeks, I think it’s a stroke of, maybe not genius, but … I just think it’s really smart, and I think it’s going to help him politically,” said Brendan Steinhauser, a Republican strategist based in Austin.
He said, “He really has a very good political barometer.”
“This ain’t Dr. Seuss or some other manufactured outrage,” said Republican strategist Dave Carney, who advises Abbott. “This is a serious public policy problem that’s going to affect the whole country.”
Still, Abbott would not be the first Texas governor to use his perch to advance a national profile. His two immediate predecessors, Rick Perry and George W. Bush, both ran for president.
Regardless of the motive, the political advantage that Abbott is gaining from the border controversy — and his positioning against Biden — could hardly be more obvious. In his bid for a third term in 2022, Abbott is facing a challenge from the right flank, with Don Huffines, a former state senator, already in the race.
Allen West, the firebrand former Florida congressman and outgoing chair of the Texas Republican Party, is also considering a bid. Even Abbott’s critics say his focus on immigration — and the thumb he’s putting in Biden’s eye on Texas’ behalf — is likely to help blunt conservatives’ frustrations with his handling of the pandemic.
“That’s what Texans like,” said Republican state Rep. Bryan Slaton, who introduced a bill earlier this year to finish building a border wall. “They love telling D.C. what to do.”
Slaton, who questioned why Abbott is only now championing the idea, said Abbott should be pushing the border wall through the legislature in a special session, not making a “unilateral decision.” Still, Slaton, who said he won’t support Abbott in the Republican primary, said he is “pretty sure” Abbott’s effort will provide him with an advantage in the race.
The border exercise may also help Abbott nationally. Trump demonstrated in 2016 that a Republican could ride anti-immigrant sentiment to the White House, and the issue remains at the top of GOP voters’ concerns. About one-fifth of Republicans rated immigration as the nation’s most important problem in a Reuters/Ipsos poll in March
, and three quarters of Republicans nationally support building a wall or fence along the border, according to a more recent NPR/Ipsos survey.
“With a little less intensity, immigration and border security serve the same purpose with national Republicans as they do here,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, which consistently reports border security and immigration polling is at the top of Texas Republican voters’ minds. “And I think we saw that with Donald Trump’s success five, six years ago.”
For the four years that Trump held the White House, Republicans outside of Washington were overshadowed on the issue by him, unable to wield immigration as an example of the federal government’s perceived failures. Now, Henson said, “with a Democrat in the White House and Democratic majorities in Congress, that game’s back on.”
Abbott is on the outer periphery of potential contenders for president in 2024 — he’s not ruling out a run, but not aggressively preparing for one, either. The widely held view of Republican strategists, including many of Abbott’s own supporters, is that he is not distinctive enough to electrify primary voters outside of Texas.
One prominent Texas Republican said, “He’s not going to be the guy to have an ‘oops’ moment, but I don’t see how he beats DeSantis on stage.” Said another: “He is a ‘measure twice, cut once’ type of candidate. Terrible for POTUS.”
Carney, Abbott’s adviser, said Abbott “has not ever discussed it either way,” but that, “If he was going to do that, we’d be doing stuff” like traveling to early primary states, which Abbott is not.
“It’s nothing we’re working on,” Carney said.
Still, there are signs in how the governor has handled the border wall issue that Abbott wants to expand his footprint beyond Texas. While announcing his border security plans last week, the governor made a point of thanking several states, including DeSantis’ Florida, for sending law enforcement officers to Texas to help along the border. In addition, by calling for the use of a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the wall, Abbott is inviting Republicans from across the country — who may not previously have been familiar with him — to participate in the cause.
Steinhauser called it “a great media and marketing campaign.”
A White House official dismissed the border wall as ineffective and a waste of taxpayer money, accusing Abbott of engaging in “political posturing and a return to immigration policies of the past.”
In Texas, too, Democrats are scoffing.
Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said the fact that the federal government already acquired sections of land along the border, along with hurdles like federal environmental regulations and the likelihood that many landowners will resist — means Abbott’s plan is probably unfeasible.
But the politics of Abbott saying a wall can be built by the state, he said, are clear.
“He is just flat-out lying to the people of the state of Texas in order to somehow put himself in the better position of beating back these right-wing extremists that are running against him, in the state that has the most right-wing extremist Republican Party in the nation,” Hinojosa said. “That’s all it’s about.”
TOTAL RECALL: Newsom Begs Californians to ‘Voluntarily Reduce Water Consumption’ By 15%
posted by Hannity Staff – 7.09.21
Embattled California Governor Gavin Newsom is pleading with Golden State resident’s to “voluntarily” limit their water consumption as the region struggles with high-temperatures and drought conditions.
“We’re hopeful that people will take that mindset they brought into the last drought and extend that forward with a 15% voluntary reduction, not only on residences but industrial commercial operations and agricultural operations,” Newsom said in a news conference.
“We’re not trying to be oppressive,” Newsom stressed, The Times reported. “Again, these are voluntary standards.”
Newsom will officially be recalled on September 14th as he fends of potential challengers eager to take his position.
The Governor has faced a growing backlash over a series of botched plans; including his decision to shutter businesses for more than a year to slow the spread of COVID-19.
TOTAL RECALL: Newsom Says Recall Effort Has Enough Signatures, Eating Out Was ‘Terrible Mistake’
posted by Hannity Staff – 3.16.21
California Governor Gavin Newsom admitted the obvious during an interview with ‘The View’ Tuesday; saying it “appears” there are now enough signatures to force a mandatory recall vote and potentially oust him from office.
“Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried about it,” Newsom said. “The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging…so we’re taking it seriously.”
“Am I worried about it? Of course I’m worried about it,” Newsom tells @TheView.
“The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero-sum nature of the question is challenging…so we’re taking it seriously.” https://t.co/VQPtWw0qXe
“This one appears to have the requisite signatures,” the Democratic governor said.
“I’ve only been in office 25 months, just 25 months there’s been six efforts to put a recall on the ballot. This one appears to have the requisite signatures. This started before the pandemic,” he said. “If you look at the list of grievances from the proponents of this campaign, it goes to our values, it’s less about me, it’s more about California and our values, Democratic Party values.”
“I have to do my job every single day, but I’m gonna fight this thing because I’m gonna fight for California values and the things I hold dear,” he added.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz called-out White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Friday after the top Biden aide accused Republicans of moving to “defund” the police; saying it’s the Democrats who are “demonizing” the men and women in blue.
“Republicans are proud to support the police, to stand with the men and women of blue, while Democrats are demonizing and vilifying the brave men and women of law enforcement,” said Ted Cruz from the US Capitol.
Sen. @tedcruz: “Republicans are proud to support the police, to stand with the men and women of blue, while Democrats are demonizing and vilifying the brave men and women of law enforcement.” pic.twitter.com/MlpfwkPqRw
“I think the President believes we shouldn’t allow access to guns to those criminals who are illegally buying them from dealers across the country,” said the Press Secretary in June. “Part of it is also ensuring specific guidance to communities to ensure they have funding to get more community police. Something that was supported by the American Jobs Plan… Some might say the other party was for defunding the police,” she added.
“The President did mention that the American Rescue Plan, a lot of Democrats, could help ensure that local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. It did not receive a single Republican vote. That funding has been used to keep cops on the beat!” claimed Psaki a short time later.
“Any local department would argue that keeping cops on the beat … is something that helped them fight crime in their communities,” she added.
Absolutely shameless. Under questioning from Fox’s Peter Doocy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argues it’s *Republicans* who have been defunding the police and not supporting law enforcement because they didn’t vote for Biden’s stimulus boondoggle the American Rescue Plan. pic.twitter.com/pIwfFkonu1
CRUZ MISSILE: Biden Admin Believes ‘American Jobs are Bad but Russian Jobs are Good’
posted by Hannity Staff – 5.21.21
Senator Ted Cruz called-out the Biden-Harris administration at the US Capitol this week; blasting the White House for suspending American energy pipelines while backing Russia’s oil industry.
“For whatever reason, the Biden-Harris administration seems to have a philosophy that American pipelines and American jobs are bad but Russian pipelines and Russian jobs are apparently good,” said Cruz.
President Biden suspended the Keystone Pipeline through an Executive Order the first day he entered the Oval Office, prompting outrage from energy workers across the United States.
Watch Cruz’ comments above.
CRUZ MISSILE: Cruz Asks Twitter to BAN CNN Over Post Promoting Same Drug That Got Trump Jr Barred
posted by Hannity Staff – 7.29.20
Senator Ted Cruz demanded Twitter ban CNN from its platform Tuesday night; pointing out the network promoted the same treatment for CoVID-19 that got Donald Trump Jr’s account frozen this week.
“Twitter, please ban CNN,” posted Cruz, citing the story.