McALLEN, Texas (Nexstar) — On Tuesday, President Donald Trump made his first appearance since the unrest in our nation’s Capitol last week.
He visited the Rio Grande Valley, in part to tout the progress of the border wall he’s been campaigning on for years.
“I kept my promises. And today we celebrate an extraordinary milestone the completion of the promised 450 miles of border wall,” Trump said Tuesday from a section of the wall in Alamo, just outside McAllen.
Hundreds of supporters lined the streets to greet the president, although the public was not allowed to attend the event itself.
“He supported America, he supported our military. He’s gotten more things done in the last four years than what he even promised to do, and he fulfilled all of his promises,” Weslaco native Jim Thalackre said Tuesday.
“I’m glad he’s come down here to the border, I’ve been here for 25 years, and I think he’s really done a great job for us,” Thalackre said.
“We’re all in support of our president, we love our country, that’s what this is all about,” said Trump supporter Patty, who made the trip for the president’s visit all the way from Minnesota.
But Democrats call the trip a waste of time.
“The priorities of the nation should be getting the COVID-19 vaccines out to the people, talking about how we unite the country, especially after that violent attack that we had at the Capitol,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat representing the state’s 28th district along the border.
Trump did address the chaos at our nation’s Capitol Tuesday.
“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,” the president said. “Now is the time for our nation to heal. And it’s time for peace and for calm. Respect for law enforcement.”
But Democrats, including Cuellar and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, representative of border district 15, said the trip is more deflection.
“He now is coming to our border to try to give a better last image, if you will of his presidency. He’s trying to appease to appease his base,” Gonzalez said Tuesday.
Democrats also question the amount of the border wall the Trump administration can take credit for.
“He talks about 450 miles of fencing a wall — that’s not even correct. The new miles are only about 25 miles. So that means he’s built only a little bit over four miles, about six miles every year, in the last four years,” Cuellar said.
Customs and Border Protection said about 20% of the administration’s wall has been completed in new territories.