In a nearly half-hour address in Alamo, Texas, Trump preceded remarks on the wall by offering what could be a veiled threat to President-elect Joe Biden's impending administration.
"Free speech is under assault like never before," Trump said, possibly alluding to his own Twitter account being permanently suspended and right-wing social media platform Parler being removed from app stores in the wake of the riot.
"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration," Trump continued, taking a jab at his successor and his calls to remove the sitting president with a week left in his term.
Tensions "dangerously high" in south Texas
Trump's arrival in the Rio Grande Valley comes in the midst of uneasy times in the country during the final days of his term. As he arrived in Texas, members of Congress were beginning debate on the floor of the U.S. House that could lead to Trump's second impeachment.
Supporters who gathered at the Harlingen airport to catch a glimpse of Air Force One carrying Trump refused to admit the debate overshadowed his legacy.
"It's not a distraction for him or for us," Trump supporter KayDene Tamayo told ABC13 from the back of a friend's pickup truck. "It's them up there that are trying to distract him. He's not a distraction. He's not the distraction."
Once at the border wall, Trump stood next to the wall with the local and national leadership of Customs and Border Protection. They later signed a plaque affixed to the wall. It is the second place Trump's signature sits on taxpayer-funded wall - built at a cost of $12.7 billion.
The day before, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez described tensions as "dangerously high" in his region where supporters of Pres. Trump and those eager to protest him have gathered.
"We're hopeful that the people that are coming here are truly patriots," Cortez told ABC13. "Patriots don't destroy other parts of America and don't hurt other Americans."
Cortez said extra law enforcement will be on duty.
As Trump left the Valley, there did not appear to be any sign of violence or even arrests despite Trump supporters and protesters having spent the day within feet of one another.
Daniel Diaz, a community activist with LUPE (La Union del Pueble Entero) in McAllen, said the event his group is planning hopes to stay away from Trump supporters despite having opposing views.
"We just want to be very, very careful, and that's why we're encouraging folks not to actually engage," he said.
PREVIEW FROM MONDAY NIGHT: A glimpse at the last time Trump was in the Valley
Trump's visit comes almost two years to the day after his last visit to the Rio Grande Valley.
In January 2019, Trump came to push the need for more funding to build the wall. At the time, the federal government was shut down over the issue and there was discussion that Trump could declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and spend the money.
Two years later, the political environment couldn't be more different.
Trump's visit will come on the same day Congress will begin votes that could lead to Trump's second impeachment. It is timing that likely has not escaped a White House eager to shed light on the president's accomplishments.
Trump is expected to take credit for building 450 miles of border wall during his term. Less than 40 of those miles are new fence, the rest are refurbished or upgraded miles.
At one point in his original campaign, Trump promised 1,000 miles of border wall that Mexico would pay for.
The miles fell short.
The money has come from the U.S. Treasury and four years after taking office, federal statistics show 31,000 more people were apprehended crossing America's southwest border in December 2020 than in January 2017 when Trump was sworn in.
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