Trump takes on Beto O’Rourke

Former President Donald Trump is in Texas today for a “Save America” ​​rally ahead of the November midterm elections. Follow live updates here.

Although Gov. Greg Abbott wasn’t in Robstown for Trump’s rally, the former president was more than willing to take a jab at Democrat Beto O’Rourke, calling the Democrat a “flake.”

“Seventeen days from now, the people of Texas will defeat Beto O’Rourke,” Trump said. “And we’re going to keep Greg Abbott, a wonderful man, a great man, a great governor.”

Trump has a long history of taking jabs at O’Rourke. In 2018, he held a rally in Houston to support U.S. Senator Ted Cruz against O’Rourke. At that stop, Trump called O’Rourke a “stone-cold fake fake.”

Abbott said earlier this week that he would not be able to be in the area for the rally because he had a pre-scheduled fundraising event in Florida that conflicted with Trump’s schedule.

Trump on Saturday called President Joe Biden and Democrats crazy for not supporting more oil and gas jobs in Texas.

“They’re against oil, God, and guns, and then they say they’re going to do well in Texas,” Trump said. “I do not think.”

O’Rourke’s campaign was more than willing to let Trump campaign for Abbott in Texas, and issued a fundraising appeal to their supporters to try to counter Trump’s impact. “Like Trump, Greg Abbott’s platform is rooted in fear mongering and scoring cheap political points by hurting Texans.”

—Jeremy Wallace

Mexico more dangerous than Afghanistan?

Trump says Mexico is the “No. 1 most unsafe” country in the world, more unsafe than even Afghanistan.

It is unclear where he gets that statistic from. According to the Global World Peace Index, Mexico is not even in the top 20 most dangerous countries: Afghanistan topped that list. Mexico was number 27 out of 163 countries reported.

—Jeremy Blackman

Trump wishes Ken Paxton was his AG

Trump said he wished Paxton had worked with him in the White House, saying Paxton would have “figured out voter fraud in about two minutes.” “I wish I had him as attorney general,” Trump said.

Paxton’s staff spent 20,000 hours looking for voter fraud last year, focusing on the 2020 election, and revealed nothing beyond isolated incidents that affected a handful of votes in an election in which more than 11 million Texans cast ballots.

—Benjamin Wermund

Trump: ‘Texas way of life is under siege’

Trump took the stage shortly before 7:30 p.m., tossing red baseball caps into the crowd as American flags whipped in the wind behind him. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” blared from the sound system.

“What has happened to our country is a disgrace, but I’m glad to be back … in the great state of Texas,” Trump said.

Moments later, Trump warned: “The Texas way of life is under siege”

—Jeremy Blackman

Patrick predicts a red ‘tsunami’

Lt. Dan Patrick got a good roar from the crowd by saying that Texas is what the rest of America used to be. “We love God. We love our families. We love our guns. We love that girls are on the sports teams, not boys. We love the fossil fuel industry that is the heartbeat of America and Texas.”

Patrick’s kicker: “There’s not a red wave coming. There’s a tsunami coming.”

—Jeremy Wallace

‘Whoever votes for Beto’ will not vote for me

ROBSTOWN— Lieut. Gov. Dan Patrick, who spoke before Trump, urged the crowd in Robstown to support GOP candidates up and down the ballot, singling out a handful of local Republicans from the Corpus Christi area.

Among the Patrick-promoted candidates was Adam Hinojosa, the GOP nominee in an open race for the state Senate seat that retiring Democrat Eddie Lucio, Jr.

As lieutenant governor, Patrick presides over the 31-member Senate, where he hopes to expand the Republicans’ current 18-13 advantage.

Patrick also predicted that there would be few midterm voters splitting their tickets by voting for a mix of Democratic and Republican candidates statewide.

“Whoever votes for Beto is certainly not going to vote for me. We have nothing in common,” Patrick said. “So anyone who votes for Beto is voting against me, voting against Ken Paxton and all the way down the ballot. That’s why it’s so important to get everyone you know to vote every Republican all the way down the ballot.”

For decades, Texas voters could check a single box to automatically vote for each candidate on the ballot from their preferred party, a practice known as straight-ticket voting. Lawmakers removed the option starting in the 2020 election, giving downvoted candidates more control over their destinies than before.

—Jasper Scherer

Is Trump shipping to a swing district?

Political pundits pointed out this week that Nueces County, where Trump is running, is an odd choice and why many Republicans in close races may not want to be near him at tonight’s rally.

Nueces County is as purple as you get in Texas politics lately. In 2016, the county narrowly went to Trump, but in 2018, Democrat Beto O’Rourke won there. Then in 2020 it swung back to Trump, narrowly.

And talk about competition for the audience’s attention. When Trump takes the stage at 7:00 p.m., the Astros-Yankees game might be in the 8th or 9th inning, the San Antonio Spurs will be late in their game, and the Texas A&M football game will have just started.

—Jeremy Wallace

Nueces GOP Chair Says Rally Will Help GOTV

It is no coincidence that Trump chose Nueces County to speak tonight. The city of Corpus Christi is one of the last urban Republican strongholds in the state, and it has been trending toward Democrats in recent elections. If the GOP wants to do well on Nov. 8, they need a strong showing there.

As evidence of that, Nueces County GOP Party Chairwoman Barbie Baker pointed to the full slate of Texas Republicans scheduled to swing into town in the coming days, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott and state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, who stands up. for land commissioner. That’s on top of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and several congressional candidates appearing tonight ahead of Trump.

“What it says is that the voice of Nueces County is important,” Baker said. “And that’s what we keep pushing and telling people.”

—Jeremy Blackman

Trump still hasn’t paid El Paso for 2019 rally

As former President Donald Trump prepares to speak tonight near Corpus Christi, he has has still not repaid the city of El Paso the more than $500,000 he owes for hosting his 2019 rally there, a city spokeswoman confirmed.

The billionaire former president, whose political war chest boasts well over $100,000,000, owes the city $569,204 for transportation, security and a 21 percent fee. In 2020, the city hired a law firm to try to collect, the city spokeswoman said, but so far $0 has been collected.

—Edward McKinley

No F-bombs on T-shirts allowed

A security guard was shown on a live stream asking Trump supporters waiting to enter not to wear shirts with profanity on them. “I understand they sell them here,” he said.

“But if they’ve got something that you wouldn’t wear to your grandma’s house, don’t bring them in because we’re better than that and we’re going to look better than that.”

—Benjamin Wermund

‘Belly of the Beast’

ROBSTOWN — A steady stream of Trump supporters poured into the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon for President Donald Trump’s rally here just west of Corpus Christi, held days before the start of early voting.

By 4 p.m., when a slate of Republican candidates and officials began speaking, the venue was packed with Trump voters wearing the former president’s red campaign hats and T-shirts with messages such as “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president .”

*NSYNC and AC/DC blared as the crowd settled into bleacher-like seats around the podium where Trump will speak later tonight.

Bianca Gracia, a Robstown native and president of the Latinos for Trump group, said Trump’s rally here is by far the largest Republican campaign event she’s seen in her hometown — an area historically dominated by Democrats.

“We’ve never had anything like this here, ever,” Gracia said. “It’s great to see all the Latinos and Hispanics, Tejanos, out here. That’s what it’s all about. When you go and do outreach and engagement — and that’s what President Trump understands — you’ve gone to the belly of the beast and you talk to people about hope and faith.”

BACKGROUND: Trump sure to fire up GOP diehards during Texas visit, but at what cost?

Trump’s visit to Nueces County marks his eighth trip to Texas since leaving office in January 2021. He last visited the state in May for the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston.

Saturday’s rally is about a 20-mile drive from the edge of two South Texas congressional districts targeted by Republicans who are optimistic about their chances of competing in historically Democratic South Texas.

They are most optimistic about Texas’ 15th congressional district, where Republican candidate Monica De La Cruz had more than doubled the fundraising total of her Democratic opponent, Michelle Vallejo, through the end of September.

Anchored in Hidalgo County, the district stretches from McAllen all the way north to Guadalupe and Wilson counties, cutting through a large swath of most of rural Texas. The GOP-controlled Legislature redistricted last year to favor Republicans.

Texas Democrats have recently complained that the national party appeared to be pulling resources from the district, as most national Democratic campaign groups have prioritized re-election bids by South Texas incumbents, U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar of Laredo and Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen.

Gonzalez, a Democrat who redistricted after defeating De La Cruz in 2020, is seeking to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores in Texas’ 34th congressional district, which she flipped in a special election earlier this year.

Flores and De La Cruz were not scheduled to speak at the meeting, although they both delivered brief pre-recorded remarks that were broadcast on a large video screen.

—Jasper Scherer

18 Trump visits Texas as president

Trump is holding the rally in Robstown, just outside Corpus Christi, his first trip back to Texas since speaking at the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston in May. Trump last held a Texas rally in Montgomery County in January.

During his tenure in the White House, Texas was one of Trump’s most frequent destinations. He made 18 visits to Texas over 4 years – one of the 9 most visited states during his presidency.

UNPAID BILLS: Trump’s 2019 El Paso rally cost the city nearly $500,000. He still hasn’t paid.

He has most often visited Houston and Dallas, who have seen him 8 times each since the start of 2017.

His first trip to Texas as president was after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when he first traveled to Corpus Christi to assess damage in nearby Rockport and surrounding communities.

—Jeremy Wallace

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