After a bipartisan outcry over his border-inspections stunt forced him to repeal his decision in 10 days, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott went on the Hannity show where the host allowed him to pretend he had scored a big victory.
Abbott retreats from his border inspection stunt after “intensifying backlash”
From The New York Times:
Facing an intensifying backlash from political parties and business groups, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday ended his policy of inspecting all commercial vehicles crossing into the state from Mexico, a time-consuming process that had caused traffic jams of 14 hours or more at the border.
Mr. Abbott said his decision came after an agreement with the governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, who flanked him at a news conference on Friday, to step up security measures on the Mexican side of the border at ports of entry and along the Rio Grande.
Abbott knew he was deliberately snarling traffic. He said at the time: “This is going to dramatically slow traffic from Mexico into Texas.”
Furthermore, Abbott was only duplicating steps already being taken. “Federal authorities already inspect commercial trucks as they pass the ports of entry and state troopers would have no authority in federal jurisdictions,” The Texas Tribune pointed out when the stunt was initiated.
Last week, The Dallas Morning News reported that a respected and independent Texas-based economist, Ray Perryman, found that “Texas lost an estimated $477 million per day during Abbott’s enhanced border security checks” which lasted from April 6th – April 15th. Axios reported on Tuesday that Perryman’s group found Texas lost a total of $4.23 billion in gross product and the U.S. lost an estimated $8.97 billion, all because of the delays.
But while costing consumers and businesses money and sending a bill to Texas taxpayers of $2 billion+ for his already-disastrous Operation Lonestar, which the border inspections were part of, as well as his bus-migrants-to-DC stunt, Abbott was lining his own pockets.
Just another political stunt, financed by the people of Texas. https://t.co/w8qCpj74Ks— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) April 7, 2022
So what’s a GOP governor up for re-election with a potential PR nightmare on his hands and with a recent poll showing him in a sudden, statistical dead heat with challenger Beto O’Rourke? Why, go on the Hannity show for some Republican rehab and where host Sean Hannity helped him present his stunts as successes.
Hannity’s Republican Rehab sweeps Abbott’s border debacle under the rug in order to laud his migrant-busing stunt
Hannity kinda/sorta acknowledged a wee bit of Abbott’s failure at the outset of their chat: “[Y]ou really have handcuffs on. There's not a lot you can do. You can't just send people back,” Hannity said.
But then Hannity gave a big thumbs up to the busing stunt: “I love your idea and it’s very effective,” he said.
That allowed Abbott to present himself as an anti-immigrant success story. He began by pretending that the federal government was not already inspecting trucks before he undertook his epic fail of an inspection ploy:
ABBOTT: And so we keep coming up with new ideas to do the federal government's job.
Instead of going into what “new ideas” he might have now, Abbott quickly pivoted to attacking President Joe Biden:
ABBOTT: You know, Sean, it's an atrocity that we have a president of the United States that is not securing the border and he's violating the laws passed by Congress to secure the border. Then on top of that, we have a president who is turning a blind eye to a security-based issue by allowing people on the terrorist watch list to come into the United States of America and those were the ones who were apprehended.
Think about all the gotaways that were not apprehended because the border patrol that they were attending, to the people that they were doing paper processing for. So, what the president is doing is outrageous and as a result, Texas is taking unprecedented action.
ABBOTT: As we're speaking right now, Sean, the seventh bus is en route from Texas to Washington, D.C. This busing process is going to continue, I want you and the audience to know exactly why we're doing what we're doing.
The Biden administration, they were dropping off illegal immigrants just on small towns on the border and I said, we're not going to allow that to happen. The people in local communities were overrun by the people that had dumped off in these local communities, and they were grappling with how to deal with it. I said, well, we're just going to bus them to Washington, D.C.
Some good news about that [White House Press Secretary] Jen Psaki did not tell you and that is we those local communities have received word after I've begun began the busting process to Washington. D.C., that the Border Patrol is now no longer going to be dropping people off at those local communities from which we have been busing people.
Rather than explain where the Border Patrol will be dropping off migrants instead, Abbott pivoted again, this time to pretending he had bullied the Mexicans and Mexican cartels into submission.
ABBOTT: I want you and the audience to know -- listen, these -- what we were doing by these inspections which we are allowed to do - it did stall traffic coming across the border and as a result, the truckers in Mexico got extremely upset. Candidly, the cartels got so upset about it, the cartels set several trucks on fire in Mexico and shootouts begin which cause on the Mexican side for to clear out a whole lot faster.
But what [Mexican President] Lopez Obrador needs to understand and that is if Mexico and the states and Mexico if they continue to allow illegal immigration to continue to flow into the state of Texas, I have the capability at any time to turn those inspections back on that will backlog those trucks that are trying to come across the border that will that will cause havoc in Mexico and it will be those local governors, as well as Lopez Obrador, they will be the ones paying the political price for it.
Abbott’s migrant-busing is supposedly voluntary but he indicated otherwise when Hannity asked, “Will you send every illegal immigrant that you find in the state of Texas to Washington, D.C.?”
“We're going to load them up and send them into Washington, D.C. If we run out of room there, Delaware looks like a great location,” Abbott said.
Hannity closed with a stamp of approval for Abbott: “All right. We appreciate it. Thank you very much, Governor Abbott. Thanks.”
You can watch Hannity and Abbott whitewash his immigration fiasco below, from the April 18, 2022 Hannity.