Donald Trump delivered a dark message of migrants “storming our borders” to South Texans on Saturday, less than three weeks before the Nov. 8 elections.
Speaking at a rally in Robstown, Tex., 130 miles from the U.S. border with Mexico, Trump took the stage tossing out red hats and pumping his fist to the crowd. His speech soon shifted to ominous warnings of migrants “invading” the country.
“We have immigrants coming in. It’s like an army,” Trump said. He added later, “They are storming our country. They are storming our borders.”
The event, aimed at driving Republican turnout, came as Border Patrol agents recorded a record number of encounters with migrants in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30. Some recent polls have shown growing support for increased border security. Voters focused on immigration tended to break for Republicans, according to an October survey by Pew Research Center. Among registered voters who rated immigration as a “very important” issue in that poll, 57% said they would vote for a Republican in their district, versus 28% who would vote for a Democrat.
Nationally, immigration is the fourth most important issue to voters, behind inflation, election and voting issues, and crime, according to poll results from the Monmouth University Polling Institute. The percentage of Americans who viewed immigration as “extremely important” increased to 34% in October from 30% in September, the poll found.
In recent appearances, Trump has laid out a menacing description of the state of the country, usually connecting its problems to President Joe Biden or other Democrats. “You can’t walk down a street in a Democratic-run city without being shot, or mugged, or knifed,” he said during a rally at the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County, Nev. on Oct. 8.
“If you want the decline and fall of America then you must vote radical left Democrat,” Trump said a day later in Mesa, Ariz. “Our biggest threat remains the sick, sinister, evil, demented people from within our country.”
Trump’s appearance in South Texas on Saturday came as both parties are battling over two close House races in the region. Pro-Trump Republican Mayra Flores, who flipped a seat held by Democrats for decades in a June special election, is facing off with Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonzales. Another close House race has Democrat Michelle Vallejo running against Republican Monica De La Cruz, who is backed by Trump.
Trump also marshaled support for the re-election of two Republican state officials, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who backed Trump’s false claims of election fraud in 2020 with a failed petition to the Supreme Court aimed at overturning election results in four battleground states.
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