- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2021

President Trump will visit the Texas border on Tuesday in one of his last official acts to make sure Americans remember The Wall.

Facing a second impeachment and accusations that he incited last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, the suddenly reclusive Mr. Trump will travel to the border town of Alamo, named for the site of a pivotal battle in an earlier revolution.

With eight days remaining in office, Mr. Trump will highlight the completion of more than 450 miles of border fencing and walls along the frontier with Mexico, one of the signature promises of his presidency.

Ordinarily, the president would trumpet such a trip in advance on Twitter to 88 million followers. But social media platforms have banned him since Friday, denying him of his favorite method of communicating with supporters and leaving the president to rely on allies to speak for him.

Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said the border wall is “one of the greatest achievements this president has had, [and] is making our country a safer place.

“He did that with a border wall,” Mr. Gidley said Monday on Fox News. “No one said it could be done. He was able to accomplish it.”

Some of his closest confidantes in Congress say Mr. Trump remains defiant.

“President Trump is not resigning, and he is not leaving the public stage at all,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, on Twitter. “Donald J. Trump remains the inspirational leader of a loving and patriotic movement of people who believe America’s best days can still be ahead.”

Hidalgo County, Texas, GOP Chairwoman Adrienne Pena-Garza said on Facebook that supporters “would like our president to know that we support him, have been praying for our country and appreciate his leadership!”

A Democrat who represents south Texas urged people to boycott the president’s event.

“Do not be fooled: President Trump does not care about the people of South Texas, this country, or the rule of law,” said Rep. Vicente Gonzalez. “This individual fomented an attack on the United States Capitol and American democracy. As usual, even after being denounced by respectable members of his Cabinet and his own party, he continues to refuse any responsibility for his actions.”

The lawmaker called the president “a modern-day traitor,” and dismissed the planned event as “nothing more than an effort to distract and deceive the American people on the taxpayers’ dime.”

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are not expected to accompany the president. They are due to attend the first day of the state’s legislative session in Austin.

Also not making the trip is acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who resigned Monday, effective at midnight. He cited “recent events.”  

The administration is pushing to complete as much of the border wall as possible in the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency, after ramping up construction last summer during the president’s reelection campaign. About 452 miles has been built, including at least 45 miles of wall in locations where none had existed, and more than 400 miles to replace broken or shorter fencing built under previous presidents.

Customs and Border Patrol acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said last week that the agency wants to award new contracts for 300 more miles of fencing before Jan. 19, so the work would require significant effort by the incoming Biden administration to unravel.

The trip will be Mr. Trump’s first public event since speaking to a massive rally in Washington on Wednesday in which he urged the crowd to march on the Capitol to protest lawmakers’ counting of the Electoral College victory for President-Elect Joseph R. Biden. Some of those supporters stormed into the Capitol, ransacking offices and assaulting police officers. Six people died in the riot or soon after, including two officers and a demonstrator who was shot by police.

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Mr. Trump on Monday, saying he incited insurrection against the government and that his leadership still poses a threat. A floor vote could come on Wednesday.

Since the election more than two months ago, Mr. Trump has held very few public events.

The White House has taken to listing nothing on the president’s daily schedule except an advisory: “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.”

On Nov. 24, the president made a brief statement in the White House press room about the economy. On Dec. 4, he awarded the Medal of Freedom to legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable in the Oval Office. On Dec. 8, he spoke at a White House event championing the administration’s development of vaccines for COVID-19.

Since Nov. 3, the president has held at least three phone calls with foreign leaders that the White House was willing to reveal. He spoke with the president of Egypt on Dec. 3, with the king of Morocco on Dec. 10 and with the prime minister of Vietnam on Dec. 22.

The president also headlined two campaign rallies, on Dec. 5 and Jan. 5, for Georgia’s two Republican senators, both of whom subsequently lost. Their defeats threw control of the Senate to Democrats.

Mr. Trump has awarded the Medal of Freedom to two GOP allies, Reps. Devin Nunes of Californian on Jan. 4 and on Monday to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. He also gave the medal to golfers Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam last week, and was expected to award it to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Thursday, but Mr. Belichick declined the honor.

All of the medal ceremonies since Dec. 4, traditionally high-profile events saturated with media coverage, have been closed to the press. That allows Mr. Trump to avoid questions from reporters.

Vice President Mike Pence met with Mr. Trump on Monday. The two men reportedly hadn’t spoken since the morning of Jan. 6, when Mr. Pence refused Mr. Trump’s entreaties to stop unilaterally the certifying of the Electoral College results in Congress. It’s the same day that the president told his followers on Twitter that Mr. Pence lacked “courage,” and hundreds of those followers broke into the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

Mr. Pence will attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration next week. Mr. Trump will not.

Mr. Gidley, who spoke with the president last weekend, said Mr. Trump is “frustrated” with the censorship by Big Tech. He’s also upset that Democrats are trying to force Mr. Pence and his Cabinet to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment or face impeachment.

“It’s clear he’s angry,” Mr. Gidley said. “Democrats came after him with a purely political impeachment not too long ago. Now, they’re threatening to do it again? The president and I talked about this — they attacked him before he even got in office. Now they’re promising to attack him after he leaves office?”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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