Ace of Diamonds: TX Gov. Greg Abbott, eager to be Trump’s 2024 running mate

This Texan bends a knee to dictatorial Donald Trump:

[x] Abbott “has certainly been very loyal to former President Trump, so he has that going for him”.

[x] “[T]here is very little chance that Abbott would try to outshine Trump.”

[x] “[H]e has acted like someone positioning himself for national office.”

[x] “He has almost quixotically staked out support for school vouchers — catnip for national Republican voters — even though Texas lawmakers largely are opposed.”

[x] He has recently “journeyed to the Middle East  to show his support for Israel.”

[x] Abbott has been governor for a decade, and it is difficult to say what he has succeeded in doing to improve the lives of his constituents. His legacy consists entirely of keeping a few people out, at fabulous expense.

 

Texas Gov. Abbott faces backlash after mass arrest at UT Austin pro-Palestine protest

The Human Toll of Greg Abbott’s War at the Border

A dispatch from Eagle Pass, where the Texas governor has amped up the cruelty toward migrants to boost his profile

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/human-toll-greg-abbott-border-war-eagle-pass-1234975140/

[Excerpt:]

Even in a rich state like Texas, $500 million is real money. The state’s schools rank among the lowest states in per-student spending, and the state has one of highest uninsured rates in the country.

The federal government recently offered the state money for free school lunches this summer; it declined, saying that the relevant agency was too busy throwing two million people off of the state’s Medicaid program to do anything else.

Abbott has been governor for a decade, and it is difficult to say what he has succeeded in doing to improve the lives of his constituents. His legacy consists entirely of keeping a few people out, at fabulous expense.

Greg Abbott Pushes Some Texas Residents Too Far

Feb 12, 2024

By Andrew Stanton 

https://www.newsweek.com/greg-abbott-pushes-eagle-pass-residents-border-fight-1869265

An Eagle Pass, Texas resident warned Texas Governor Greg Abbott that he may have gone too far in his battle to tighten the United States-Mexico border after convoys of people demanding tighter immigration laws showed up in the border town.

In a video posted to Instagram by the organization Presente, Eagle Pass resident Jessie Fuentes said that “armed militias were inspired to invade our normally quiet, safe and peaceful border town” after Abbott held a press conference with other Republican governors earlier in February about the southern border.

Abbott was joined by GOP governors in Eagle Pass, where he vowed to continue defying the Biden administration amid a clash over control of the border. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with President Joe Biden, ruling that the federal government could remove razor wire at Shelby Park, an area of Eagle Pass along the Rio Grande the state has taken control of in their efforts to limit undocumented migrants from entering the country.

Texas authorities, however, have maintained they have the authority to use the razor wire because they believe the federal government failed to address what they view as an “invasion” at the southern border.

There were more than 2.4 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border during the 2023 fiscal year, up from roughly 1.7 million in 2021, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

“We, the citizens of Eagle Pass, do hereby request that you vacate Shelby Park and return it back to us, the citizens of Eagle Pass, who are the rightful owners of the property,” Fuentes said. “It is an affront to the U.S. and us as taxpayers of this great state that you have seized our public park, that is controlled by everyone, to support an extreme, partisan political agenda that endangers our families.”

He said the park has been “turned into a military-style staging area” being used as a “backdrop for political theater,” criticizing that local residents can “no longer use our park for fishing, kayaking, flea markets, barbecues, quinceaneras or even to have our children play.”

Fuentes knocked Abbott for allegedly excluding the “voices of the very residents who live here.”

“You are creating fiction, and using our community’s resources to do it. You are telling a dangerous and misleading story about us, about the border, about our safe communities,” he said.

 

RELEASE: Texas Democrats Issue Statement Following Greg Abbott’s Press Conference at Movie Set in Eagle Pass, Texas

PressMedia

Feb 8, 2024

AUSTIN, Texas Today, Greg Abbott held another press conference with handpicked Texas Republicans – none of whom represent a border community– a moment to praise his standoff against the federal government on live television.

Notably zero Texas Democrats, including State Representative Eddie Morales who represents 770+ miles of the southern border, were included in this border presser.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issues the following statement:

“Greg Abbott’s efforts to “secure” the border have turned Shelby Park into a movie set – where the apprehension of migrants is filmed for Fox News sound bites. Abbott’s rinky-dink barriers along the Rio Grande are not only endangering migrants but physically blocking Border Patrol personnel from doing their jobs. This is not what border security looks like. This is an unconstitutional breach of national security and international law that puts the lives of women and children in danger.

“Today’s press conference only shows that Greg Abbott and Texas Legislative Republicans are using the border as a backdrop for campaign photos instead of meeting with elected Democrats to produce real solutions in this humanitarian crisis. This gross parade of tyranny is unprecedented – however, Democrats will not be deterred in our commitment to using data-driven and humane policies that strengthen our border security in South Texas.”

 

Texas Republicans who defied Gov. Greg Abbott on school vouchers face mounting primary attacks

By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune 

Feb 4, 2024

https://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/news/texas-republicans-who-defied-gov-greg-abbott-on-school-vouchers-face-mounting-primary-attacks/article_ad28c9bc-c219-11ee-abf4-0753a62f6570.html 

[Excerpts:]

Texas House Republicans who tanked Gov. Greg Abbott’s school voucher agenda last year are facing a growing onslaught in their primaries as his long-promised revenge tour reaches its final month.

A national pro-voucher group, the School Freedom Fund, is launching a $1.15 million TV ad blitz across eight primaries Wednesday, part of a major ramp-up by Abbott’s allies on the issue. Another pro-voucher outfit, AFC Victory Fund, endorsed 13 primary challengers Tuesday and has already sent out multiple mail pieces attacking incumbents. And Abbott himself is set to return to the campaign trial this week to stump for both pro-voucher incumbents — and challengers.

It all marks the long-telegraphed fallout from last year’s legislative sessions, when a group of House Republicans held firm against Abbott’s crusade for letting parents use taxpayers dollars to take their kids out of public schools. His effort came crashing down in November, when 21 House Republicans voted to strip a voucher program out of a wide-ranging education bill, House Bill 1.

Sixteen of those Republicans are now running for reelection, and most are being targeted by Abbott and allied groups. Most are also in the crosshairs of Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is separately working to unseat dozens of House Republicans who voted to impeach him last year.

The School Freedom Fund is an arm of the Club for the Growth, the national anti-tax group, and its new TV ad buy spans broadcast, cable and satellite across the eight districts.

The advertising blitz is being overwhelmingly funded by one man: Jeff Yass, a Pennsylvania billionaire whose top issue is alternatives to public education. He has been a multimillion-dollar donor to the School Freedom Fund, AFC Victory Fund and — more recently — Abbott, cutting the governor a $6 million check in December.

One of the new ads from School Freedom Fund boosts Olcott, highlighting his support from the governor and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Its latest mail piece portrays the incumbents in a “Wanted” poster, saying they are being sought for “working against schools, teachers, parents, and kids.” The mailer says they not only denied school vouchers but also “$4,000 pay raises for teachers” and “over $97 million in funding for our local schools.”

 

The legal fight over whether Texas can seize control of the border, explained

The Constitution gives the Biden administration nearly exclusive authority over matters of immigration. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants the courts to change that.

By Ian Millhiser  

Jan 27, 2024

https://www.vox.com/scotus/2024/1/27/24051657/supreme-court-texas-border-immigration-greg-abbott-biden-invasion

 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s vice-presidential chances

Asher Price

Nov 20, 2023

https://www.axios.com/local/austin/2023/11/20/greg-abbott-vice-president-2024-texas-gov

With the 2024 presidential election less than a year out, Gov. Greg Abbott is shaping up to be a potential vice presidential candidate, per politics experts interviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: Border security is likely to be a major issue in next year’s general election, and a conservative border governor like Abbott could amplify the GOP nominee’s message.

Driving the news: Abbott endorsed Donald Trump on Sunday in an appearance with the former president in the border city of Edinburg.

  • “We need a president who’s going to secure the border,” Abbott said. “We need a president who’s going to restore law and order.”

Between the lines: Even as Abbott has shied away from expressing interest in a move to Washington — questions left by Axios with Abbott’s office and his campaign went unanswered — he has acted like someone positioning himself for national office.

What they’re saying: Abbott “certainly ticks off many of the boxes,” for a vice presidential candidate, Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, tells Axios.

  • He has a national profile.
  • He’s a prolific fundraiser.
  • “He’s effective on the stump, even if he’s not the most successful retail politician,” Rottinghaus says. “He can deliver the lines and get out.”
  • And Abbott can sell the Texas miracle — tax cuts and low regulations — as a recipe that can be recreated.

The intrigue: Abbott “has certainly been very loyal to former President Trump, so he has that going for him,” University of Texas political scientist Sean Theriault tells Axios. “Being from the more establishment wing of the party could also be a way of unifying the Republican Party in the same way that then-Governor Pence did in 2016.”

  • Plus, “there is very little chance that Abbott would try to outshine Trump, which is one of the requirements — and why someone like Kari Lake would be passed over,” Theriault said.

Also, having served nearly a decade as governor and a year out from a double-digit thrashing of a well-known, well-funded Democratic challenger, Abbott appears ripe for a new challenge.

Yes, but: The Republican nominee will almost certainly win Texas anyway, so a Texas governor offers no real electoral help.

  • And some of the policies Abbott supports, on border barriers or abortion, for example, may turn off general election voters, Rottinghaus says.
  • To the question of whether it was a conscious decision to position Abbott as a vice-presidential candidate and the governor’s thinking on joining a ticket, Abbott campaign consultant Dave Carney tells Axios: “Zero thought on that and I doubt he would consider it even for a minute.”

Plus: If Donald Trump clinches the nomination, he may pick someone like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in a year in which suburban women may provide the crucial swing votes.

The bottom line: Texas governors are inevitably in the mix for a White House run, with one clinching the top job and another falling very short.

 

Greg Abbott Is Going Out of His Way to Create Chaos in Chicago and New York

The Texas governor is using human beings as pawns, undermining efforts by local leaders to coordinate migrant arrivals.

BY ERIC LUTZ

January 2, 2024

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/greg-abbott-is-going-out-of-his-way-to-create-chaos-in-chicago-and-new-york

 

Texas Gov. Abbott endorses Trump at campaign stop on southern border

By —

Jill Colvin, Associated Press

Paul J. Weber, Associated Press

Michelle L. Price, Associated Press

Nov 19, 2023

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/texas-gov-abbott-endorses-trump-at-campaign-stop-on-southern-border

[Excerpts:]

Donald Trump returned to the U.S.-Mexico border for a visit Sunday and was endorsed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas as the former president campaigns on a hard-line immigration agenda that would be far more expansive than the policies he pursued during his first term in the White House.

“We need a president who’s going to secure the border,” Abbott, a longtime ally and fellow border hawk, told a crowd of about 150 at an airport hangar in Edinburg. “We need Donald J. Trump back as our president of the United States of America.”

Trump, the party’s front-runner for the 2024 nomination, took the stage afterward and thanked Abbott, saying that in defeating Democratic President Joe Biden next year, “I’m going to make your job much easier.”

Trump has been laying out immigration proposals that would mark a dramatic escalation of the approach he used in office and that drew alarms from civil rights activists and numerous court challenges.

“On my first day back in the White House, I will terminate every open-borders policy of the Biden administration. I will stop the invasion on our southern border and begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” he said in Iowa Saturday.

[Trump] also wants to:

  • Revive and expand his controversial travel ban, which initially targeted seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump’s initial executive order was fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld what Trump complained was a “watered down” version that included travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan officials.
  • Begin new “ideological screening” for all immigrants, aiming to bar “Christian-hating communists and Marxists” and “dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots and maniacs” from entering the United States. “Those who come to and join our country must love our country,” he has said.
  • Bar those who support Hamas. “If you empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists, you’re disqualified,” Trump says. “If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified. If you support Hamas or any ideology that’s having to do with that or any of the other really sick thoughts that go through people’s minds — very dangerous thoughts — you’re disqualified.”
  • Deport immigrants living in the country who harbor “jihadist sympathies” and send immigration agents to “pro-jihadist demonstrations” to identify violators. He would target foreign nationals on college campuses and revoke the student visas of those who express anti-American or antisemitic views.
  • Invoke the Alien Enemies Act to to remove from the United States all known or suspected gang members and drug dealers. That law was used to justify internment camps in World War II. It allows the president to unilaterally detain and deport people who are not U.S. citizens.
  • End the constitutional right to birthright citizenship by signing an executive order his first day in office that would codify a legally untested reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. Under his order, only children with at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent would be eligible for a passport, Social Security number and other benefits.
  • Terminate all work permits and cut off funding for shelter and transportation for people who are in the country illegally.
  • Build more of the wall along the border, crack down on legal asylum-seekers and reimplement measures such as Title 42, which allowed Trump to turn away immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Press Congress to pass a law so anyone caught trafficking women or children would receive the death penalty.
  • Shift federal law enforcement agents, including FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration personnel, to immigration enforcement, and reposition at the southern border thousands of troops currently stationed overseas. “Before we defend the borders of foreign countries we must secure the border of our country,” he said.

Trump has made frequent trips to the border as a candidate and president. During his 2016 campaign, he traveled to Laredo, Texas in July 2015 for a visit that highlighted how his views on immigration helped him win media attention and support from the GOP base.

The border has also become a centerpiece of Abbott’s agenda and the subject of an escalating fight with the Biden administration over immigration.

The three-term governor has approved billions of dollars in new border wall construction, authorized razor wire on the banks of the Rio Grande and bused thousands of migrants to Democrat-led cities across the United States.

 

With each horrific shooting, Texas’ governor looks more inept 

BY LZ GRANDERSON COLUMNIST 

MAY 7, 2023 

Greg Abbott of Texas continues to make a strong case for being the nation’s most inept governor. The latest mass shootings in his state mark a shameful low point.

It’s not just that he’s a gun owner and a Republican, because let’s face it, elected officials from both parties cash gun-lobby checks. It’s his very public mishandling of the gun-violence epidemic that sets him apart.

Abbott is the governor who posted an infamous tweet Oct. 28, 2015, celebrating guns, and he has kept it online as it gets more and more cringe-worthy. It was still up Sunday morning, the day after a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall outside Dallas. At least eight dead. At least seven others wounded. And yet there is Abbott on the record:

Texas had 18 mass shootings the year he tweeted that, according to the Gun Violence Archive. As a country, we lost 468 people to 372 mass shootings in 2015, including one the day that Abbott posted that tweet. Mass shootings occurred most days: 220 to be exact. The other 145 days we cleaned up the blood, had our thoughts, said our prayers and waited for the next one.

Abbott’s clumsy response to the school shooting in Uvalde last May was not a fluke. He didn’t meaningfully respond at all. He didn’t even postpone a fundraising event the evening of the shooting. This is who this man is.

Last month, after a family was gunned down, Abbott callously dehumanized the victims by calling them illegal immigrants. This was not a misstep on his part. This is who this man is.

His latest attempt to change the subject is especially rich.

“One thing that we can observe very easily is that there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that’s taking place in America,” Abbott said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And what Texas is doing, in a big-time way, we’re working to address that anger and violence by going to its root cause, which is addressing the mental health crisis behind it.”

In 2022, Texas was ranked last in the country in overall access to mental health care, according to data analyzed by Mental Health America. A shameful statistic, but not surprising considering that Abbott has cut $211 million from the department in charge of his state’s mental health programs.

In 2015, Abbott’s first year as governor, he recognized Mental Health Awareness Month in part by saying: “Ensuring timely access to effective treatment is beneficial not only for individual well-being, but also for our society as a whole, resulting in countless cost savings in the healthcare, criminal justice, housing and family services fields.”

Indeed. Abbott identified the problem aptly, but then he made it worse.

To review: The governor who identified the importance of his state’s mental health services later took $211 million from them. The governor who gutted mental health care now says it is the key to preventing mass shootings.

That’s Abbott.

The governor who used his office to make it as easy as possible to get guns has also expressed concern about the Mexican cartel presence along the border. As if his policies didn’t play a role in arming them.

The governor who crowed about gun proliferation in 2015 — and tagged the NRA as if seeking approval — had the nerve to say recently “what we’ve seen across the United States over the past year or two.” As if anything about these mass shootings is a new phenomenon.

So don’t get your hopes up when he says some of the right things about mental health care. Abbott has shown us who he is, and he won’t be part of the solution.

 

“The central fact of American civilization—one so hard for others to understand—is that freedom and justice and the dignity of man are not just words to us. We believe in them. Under all the growth and the tumult and abundance, we believe. And so, as long as some among us are oppressed—and we are part of that oppression—it must blunt our faith and sap the strength of our high purpose.”

— Lyndon B. Johnson, on the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1965