Richmond Times-Dispatch

Trump speaks

President visits Texas, takes no responsibi­lity for riot.

- BY JILL COLVIN AND ZEKE MILLER

ALAMO, Texas — President Donald Trump on Tuesday made his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege last week, arriving in Texas to promote his immigratio­n policies but taking no responsibi­lity for his part in fomenting the insurrecti­on at the U.S. Capitol last week

This was despite his comments encouragin­g supporters to march on the Capitol and praise for them while they were still carrying out the assault.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriat­e,” Trump said.

Alamo, in the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border, is the site of the 450th mile of the border wall his administra­tion is building. On his visit, Trump brushed off Democratic calls on his Cabinet to declare him unfit for office and remove him from power using the 25th Amendment.

“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administra­tion,” Trump said. “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”

“It’s time for peace and for calm,” Trump said Tuesday, less than a week after egging on the mob that descended on the Capitol. He added, “Respect for law enforcemen­t is the foundation of the MAGA agenda,” referencin­g his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Trump said the “real problem” was not his rhetoric last week, but the talk that Democrats used to describe Black Lives Matter

protests and violence in Seattle and Portland this summer.

Trump lashed out at lawmakers’ push for his second impeachmen­t this week, claiming, “It’s 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.”

While Trump was traveling, Vice President Mike Pence assured the nation’s governors that the outgoing administra­tion is working diligently with Biden’s team. He thanked the governors for their leadership on the coronaviru­s and promised them a “seamless transition.”

In Texas, Trump delivered remarks highlighti­ng his administra­tion’s efforts to curb immigratio­n and the progress made on his signature 2016 campaign promise: a wall across the length of the southern border — an imposing structure made of con

crete and reinforced steel.

But over time, Trump demanded modificati­ons that have been largely rejected: He wanted it painted black to burn the hands of those who touched it; he wanted it adorned with spikes; he even wanted to surround it with an alligator-filled moat. While he promised that it would be funded by Mexico, U.S. taxpayers footed the bill.

In the end, his administra­tion has overseen the constructi­on of roughly 450 miles of border wall constructi­on — likely reaching 475 miles by Inaugurati­on Day. The vast majority of that wall has replaced smaller barriers that already existed, though the new wall is considerab­ly more difficult to bypass.

Trump warned that a reversal of his policies by Biden would bring about a “tidal wave of illegal immigratio­n.” He added, “To terminate those policies is

knowingly to put America in really serious danger.”

Biden has said he’d halt constructi­on of the wall and take executive action where possible to reverse some of Trump’s restrictio­ns on legal immigratio­n and asylum-seekers. But Biden and his aides have acknowledg­ed the possibilit­y of a new crisis at the border if they act too quickly, and Biden has said it could take six months for his administra­tion to secure funding and put in place the necessary infrastruc­ture to loosen Trump-era restrictio­ns.

Trump credited his wall for a drop in illegal border crossings from a 13-year high in 2019, but the Government Accountabi­lity Office has found the administra­tion lacks measures to correlate drops in illegal crossings to wall constructi­on.

Trump said incorrectl­y that he inherited “open borders” from his predecesso­r, Barack Obama. He leaves office with about the same number of Border Patrol agents than when he began, despite a pledge to add 5,000, and the monthly number of migrants stopped at the border exceeds totals during much of Obama’s tenure.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Trumpwarne­d that reversing his border policies would bring about a “tidal wave of illegal immigratio­n.”
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Trumpwarne­d that reversing his border policies would bring about a “tidal wave of illegal immigratio­n.”
 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President Donald Trumpon Tuesday toured part of the U.S.-Mexico borderwall being built in Alamo, Texas.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trumpon Tuesday toured part of the U.S.-Mexico borderwall being built in Alamo, Texas.
 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President Donald Trump credited his borderwall project with curbing illegal crossings.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump credited his borderwall project with curbing illegal crossings.

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