President Donald Trump has remained out of the public eye since the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol and the fallout that led to him being cut off from supporters by Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
That will change Tuesday when president travels to the small Texas border town of Alamo, located in the Rio Grande Valley, to highlight the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall.
Before leaving for Texas, Trump briefly spoke to reporters, his first public remarks in nearly a week. Trump slammed Democrats’ move to impeach him, calling it a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics” that is “causing tremendous anger.”
“We want no violence,” Trump added. “Never violence.”
On Monday, House Democrats formally introduced an article of impeachment against the president for “inciting violence against the government of the United States.”
The House of Representatives could vote on whether to impeach the president as soon as Wednesday. But even if the House moves to impeach, it’s unlikely that a Senate trial would come together quickly enough for any real action against the president before his term ends. The Senate is not in session until Jan. 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
When asked if he took any responsibility for the deadly riot by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol, Trump defended his remarks at a rally ahead of the insurrection.
“It’s been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said, before shifting the focus to others.
“If you look at what other people have said – politicians at a high level – about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places, that was a real problem, what they said,” Trump said, without elaborating.
“President Trump is expected to travel to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday to mark the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall — a promise made, promise kept — and his Administration’s efforts to reform our broken immigration system,” the White House said in an email to the McAllen Monitor.
The visit will likely be Trump’s last to Texas while in office, and possibly his last trip as president – and it comes as congressional Democrats call for him to be removed from office. It’s anticipated the president will speak at 2 p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST.
The City of Alamo released a statement Monday that the city was not contacted prior to Trump’s visit.
The border wall was among the president’s chief and mostly costly projects while in office, and a quintessential promise of his successful 2016 campaign for president.
Rio Grande Valley media reports that what the president will see resembles see-through fencing rather than an opaque wall. Construction on that fortified fencing began during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Some of the criticism leveled at the president ahead of his visit is coming from within Texas. In a letter addressed to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, state Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, faith leaders on Monday called for state leadership to reject Trump’s border visit.
“As faith leaders in Texas, we are dismayed by your failure to object to President Donald Trump’s visit this week, where he will speak in public for the first time since he incited the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday,” the letter states. “The border wall that he is coming to brag about was built with over 10.5 billion dollars, dollars he extracted from the budget of our military. He took that money when the democratically elected Congress did not agree that building a wall was a responsible way to spend government funds.”
The letter, which was signed by more than 70 Texas-based faith leaders, blames Trump for the violence and deaths that occurred last week.
“We now know that the current President is not a defender of Democracy, he is not a patriot, and he has no regard for the health or wellbeing of Americans,” the letter continues. “Last week he called for action that led to the death of at least 6 Americans and serious injuries sustained by dozens more, including over 50 police officers. His very presence has become a symbol of insurrection and lawlessness.”