Both Donald Trump and President Joe Biden spoke at the US-Mexico border recently, setting the stage as the 2024 presidential race begins to hinge on issues of border security and safety. Biden centered his speech on bipartisan support for a border security bill that was rejected by Republicans, claiming it didn’t do enough. Biden called on Democrats and Republicans to work together. “Here’s what I would say to Mr. Trump. Instead of playing politics with the issue, join me, or I’ll join you in telling Congress to pass this bill. You know, and I know it’s the toughest, most efficient, most effective border security bill this country’s ever seen,” said President Biden.

Trump traveled to Eagle Pass, where he met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and soldiers from the Texas National Guard. The area is laced with barbed wire fencing, which has become a standoff between the Texas government and the federal government after the Supreme Court ruled that US Border Patrol agents could remove the wiring. Texas has vowed to continue putting up the razor wire despite the ruling. Trump blamed Biden for failing to secure the border, saying, “This is like a war.” He also brought up the recent murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley, allegedly by a Venezuelan national who was in the country illegally. “Crooked Joe has the blood of countless innocent victims. It’s so many stories to tell, so many horrible stories,” said Trump.

Riley’s death has sparked a national debate about the safety of the US border. Trump has turned his focus on leadership in DC, calling it “incompetent.” During a town hall in Greenville, SC, before the South Carolina primary, Trump stated he was worried about the potential dangers of such incompetent leadership. “Everybody in this room is in great danger right now. We have a nuclear weapon that, if you hit New York, South Carolina, is going to be gone too. I worry about their safety. I think it’s the reason I’m doing this,” said Trump. The former president was responding to a question during the town hall, hosted by Fox News correspondent Laura Ingraham, on how he remains optimistic. When asked if he resorts to regular prayer, Trump responded by saying, “I pray.” He went on to say that the country’s current leaders are “vicious, horrible people.” “They’re good at doing the election stuff, they’re good at demeaning people,” he said.

Despite his criticism, Trump did say he would be willing to work with Democrats to increase American safety. “I’m going to work with the Democrats; we’re going to rebuild our cities,” he said. He said he wants to federalize Washington, DC, which experienced the most homicides in 2023 that it had in two decades. “I want to take it back,” said Trump.

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