Former President Donald Trump labeled the situation at the southern border “a Joe Biden invasion” while speaking to the media in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday.  

“I call him ‘Crooked Joe’ because he’s crooked,” Trump said. “He’s a terrible president. The worst president our country has ever had, and probably the most incompetent president we’ve ever had.” 

Standing just yards away from the Rio Grande, Trump said there is a “new form of vicious violation to our country” called “Biden migrant crime.” 

Biden is “allowing thousands and thousands—and actually, millions and millions—of people to come,” Trump said, adding, “[It] could be 15 million, could be 18 million by the time he gets out of office.” 

Trump went so far as to claim that “if you take the 10 worst presidents in the history of our country, you added them all up, all of the problems, all of the lousy jobs they’ve done, you can add them all up, it’s not as bad as this one man has done for our country.”  

“He’s destroying our country,” Trump said of his successor in the Oval Office.  

The former president criticized “Crooked Joe Biden,” explaining he “took the name away from Hillary [Clinton] because she’s no longer relevant, while discussing the Feb. 22 death in Athens, Georgia, of University of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley, reportedly at the hands of an illegal alien.  

“Joe Biden will never say Laken Riley’s name, but we will say it, and we will remember. We’re not going to forget her,” Trump said.  

Since Biden took office in January 2021, Customs and Border Protection has encountered more than 8.8 million illegal aliens on America’s borders and at ports of entry. That doesn’t include 1.7 million “known goaways.” CBP also has seized more than 56,000 pounds of fentanyl since Biden took office and has encountered about 1,500 individuals on America’s terrorist watch list.  

Trump complimented Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican, for his efforts to secure the border, calling it a “military operation” and adding that “Texas is very secure.”  

Through Operation Lone Star, Abbott has taken strategic steps to stop illegal border crossing through use of razor wire, National Guard troops, and other resources.  

Trump delivered his remarks at Shelby Park, a site that has become a flashpoint between the Biden administration and Abbott. In January, Abbott and Texas National Guard troops took control of the park that the Border Patrol had formerly used as a staging area for illegal aliens after they crossed the Rio Grande. Since the Texas National Guard took over the park, illegal crossings into Eagle Pass have declined substantially.  

Abbott complimented Trump for his four border policies that significantly decreased illegal immigration during his administration.  

“The end of ‘catch and release,’ the Title 42 policy, the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and building the border wall” all worked together to secure the border under Trump, Abbott said, before lamenting that the border could have remained secure if Biden had simply maintained Trump’s policies.  

About 330 miles south of Shelby Park, Biden was at the border in Brownsville, Texas, where he met with local leaders, law enforcement, and Border Patrol agents.  

Biden’s trip to Brownsville is the president’s second time visiting the border since taking office. Biden visited El Paso, Texas, in January 2023.  

During his public remarks at the border Thursday afternoon, Biden called for passage of a Senate border bill that he backed and that most Republicans in Congress opposed.  

The bill was on its way to being passed, according to Biden, until derailed by “partisan politics.” 

GOP lawmakers quickly dismissed the bill after it was introduced, claiming it would not secure the border and would instead allow 5,000 illegal aliens to enter the country daily. 

Ahead of the dueling border trips, former Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott told The Daily Signal that Biden and Trump should ask Border Patrol agents a number of critical questions: 

What is the impact of the flow on your ability to positively identify individuals? What effect has the flow, the sheer numbers, had on your ability to do an actual interview with someone to find out, you know, what is their intent for entering the United States? 

On the flipside, Scott said he would ask Biden why, when the chief of the Border Patrol could brief the president on the situation at the border at any time, did the president think he had to “go all the way down to South Texas and do a photo op?”    

Scott was not the only one to criticize Biden’s trip to Texas on Thursday. The Border Patrol union called the president’s border appearance “too little, too late,” and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., on X (formerly Twitter) called the trip a “publicity stunt.”

In a statement Thursday, Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, was critical of Biden’s choice to visit “one of the slowest sectors of our Southwest border.”

“President Biden and his impeached [Department of Homeland Security] secretary,” Green said, referring to Alejandro Mayorkas, “could end this crisis now by simply enforcing the laws on the books—laws that bipartisan majorities in Congress passed. Until that happens, the American people––from Tucson, Arizona, to Athens, Georgia––will continue to bear the overwhelming and unacceptable cost of this crisis.” 

Still, others defended Biden’s visit. Port Arthur, Texas, Mayor Thurman Bartie says he thinks Biden “is not just doing it for the photo op, but to maybe gain some knowledge as to what can be done because it’s a humongous, huge problem,” USA Today reported.  

The trips of the current and former presidents come eight months before the presidential election on Nov. 5. Recent polling indicates that the border crisis is a leading issue for Americans ahead of the 2024 vote.  

In a recent Pew Research poll, 77% of Americans said the situation at the border is either a “crisis” or “major problem.” A recent Gallup poll also shows that 28% of Americans think that immigration is the most important problem facing the country, outpacing concerns over the “government” and the “economy in general.”  

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