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Donald Trump says Greg Abbott is “absolutely” on vice president short list

1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago Friday, March 01 2024 Mar 1, 2024 March 01, 2024 2:16 PM March 01, 2024 in News - Texas news
Source: https://www.texastribune.org/
By: MATTHEW WATKINS | THE TEXAS TRIBUNE
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks next to Texas Governor Greg Abbott as Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, TX on Feb. 29, 2024. Credit: REUTERS/Go Nakamura

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Donald Trump said Thursday during a visit to the Texas-Mexico border that Gov. Greg Abbott is “absolutely” on his short list of potential vice presidential candidates for his 2024 run.

During a joint interview with Abbott on Fox News, the former president was asked by host Sean Hannity whether Abbott was under consideration for the position. Trump responded that Abbott is “a spectacular man” and he was honored when Abbott endorsed him for president last year.

“And he’s done a great job,” Trump said. “Yeah, certainly he would be somebody that I would very much consider.”

“So he’s on the list?” Hannity said.

“Absolutely, he is,” Trump replied, as Abbott looked on.

On Friday, Abbott downplayed his interest in such a role at a press conference.

"Obviously it's very nice of him to say, but I think you all know that my focus is entirely on the state of Texas," he said. "As you know, I'm working right now on the midterm election process. I've already talked about that I've announced that I'm running for reelection two years from now, and so my commitment is to Texas and I'm staying in Texas."

In the Thursday inteview, Hannity asked Trump if there was anyone else on the short list, and Trump named U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina who was recently an opponent in the GOP primary for president. Scott has since endorsed Trump, and Trump called him an “unbelievable” campaign surrogate.

Abbott has not always embraced Trump as much as some other statewide officials like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who twice chaired Trump’s campaign in Texas.

Trump and his allies have also shown occasional signs of frustration with Abbott over the years. Last May, Trump questioned on his Truth Social platform why Abbott was not speaking out about the Texas House’s impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton, a top Trump ally in Texas.

But Abbott and Trump have previously found ways to shore up their relationship at election time. Trump gave Abbott an early and crucial endorsement in his contested primary for reelection in 2022, and Abbott appeared at a Trump rally in the Houston area weeks before the primary, which the governor easily won.

Abbott has in recent years generated national attention for his aggressive policies related to the border and immigration. He has pushed Texas to use state funds to build border barriers, continuing one of Trump’s signature policies. Abbott has spent billions of state dollars on border enforcement, enlisting the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety troopers to police the region. He’s also spent millions of dollars busing migrants to cities led by Democrats. And he’s confronted the Biden administration’s border authority by blocking Border Patrol access to a boat ramp in a public park along the Rio Grande.

Trump visited that park with Abbott on Thursday to call attention to President Joe Biden’s handling of immigration. While there, he praised Abbott’s border security efforts.

Trump also praised Abbott’s deployment of concertina wire along the Rio Grande and efforts to arrest migrants who cross the border illegally.

"He really stepped it up," Trump said of the governor. "It's been amazing."

[As Biden and Trump visit the border, many Texas residents feel ignored]

The two men spent much of Thursday together, touring Texas’ border with Mexico in Eagle Pass and discussing Abbott’s border security efforts. During his brief address to reporters afterwards, Trump praised Abbott.

“This is an incredible operation,” Trump said.

At one point, Trump mentioned that multiple Republicans in the U.S. Senate are vying for his support to replace outgoing minority leader Mitch McConnell. Even though Abbott is not a U.S. senator — and the position is not selected by presidential candidates — Trump joked that he might choose Abbott.

“I’d rather be governor of Texas,” Abbott retorted.

“I think you’re doing well,” Trump said. “I want to keep you in Texas.”

[In two Texas border towns, Biden and Trump push for different immigration approaches]

Democrats, meanwhile, have blasted Abbott’s border policies as political opportunism that dehumanizes migrants and wastes state resources that could be better spent on other priorities.

Biden was also at the Texas-Mexico border on Thursday. From Brownsville, he called out Trump — and asked him to push Congress to pass significant immigration legislation.

"Instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me, or I'll join you, in telling the Congress to pass this bipartisan border security bill,” he said. “We can do it together."


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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2024/02/29/greg-abbott-donald-trump-vice-president/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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