Speaking with Texas officials and law enforcement officers, Mr. Trump said he left the border as secure as it has ever been after delivering on his promise to build new sections of the border wall and enact tough immigration policies.
“The real question is: Do they really want open borders or are they incompetent?” Mr. Trump said. “You are either incompetent or for some reason you have a screw loose and you want to have open borders.”
“We had all these great policies going and they were all ended,” Mr. Trump said. “It was almost like they were ended because I did it.”
Mr. Biden has halted border wall construction. He rescinded the “Remain in Mexico” policy that forced migrants to wait in Mexico for asylum hearings and ended agreements with Central American countries to stem the flow of migrants crossing their territory en route to the U.S.
The moves have coincided with a surge of migrants at the southern border, putting the Biden administration on the defensive and creating big problems for border states.
The issue is arguably the biggest challenge facing the Biden administration, and there are signs it is becoming a political vulnerability.
Republicans have seized on the issue, using it as a political cudgel to attack Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“If they went to the beach and did nothing, it would have been fine,” Mr. Trump said.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, were among the elected leaders who joined Mr. Trump Wednesday.
“One of the things he did better than anything else, and better than any other president, he stepped up and secured our border and kept Texans and Americans safe,” Mr. Abbott said at the briefing. “Mr. President, things have changed so quickly and so dramatically under the Biden administration. It has been amazing and disastrous.”
Mr. Abbott said the Biden administration has made a mess of the situation, and said the state is doing all it can to combat the drug smuggling, violence and overall mayhem along the border.
“We are doing all that we can for one reason and that is because of the way the people along the border are having their lives turned upside down,” Mr. Abbott said. “It is a far more dangerous situation than it has ever been.”
Mr. Trump and Mr. Abbott were scheduled to participate in a town hall-style event moderated by Fox News’ Sean Hannity later in the day.
The visit to the border comes amid reports that Trump Organization and the company’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, are expected to be charged Thursday with tax-related crimes stemming from a New York investigation into the former president’s business dealings.
The charges against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization would be the first criminal cases to arise from the two-year probe led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat who leaves office at the end of the year.
Mr. Trump is stepping back into the public spotlight ahead of the 2022 midterms. He held a campaign-style rally in Ohio on Saturday and will appear at “45 Fest,” a rally in Florida over the July 4 weekend.
Mr. Trump reportedly rejected pleas from Gov. Ron DeSantis to pull the plug on the event given the ongoing search-and-rescue mission in the rubble of the seaside condominium near Miami.
“When I was president, I delivered on my promise to build a border wall to protect our country. All Joe Biden had to do was paint it,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Instead, Biden has enacted the most radical open borders agenda imaginable.
“This is perhaps the first time in world history a nation has purposely and systematically dismantled its own defenses to invite millions of foreign migrants to enter its territory and break its laws,” he said.
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, raised money off the “historic visit.”
“The Liberal News Media knows that Democrats have FAILED to address the Border Crisis, and they’re doing everything they can to keep President Trump‘s visit from being a success,” the Republican National Committee said in a fundraising email.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.
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