After days out of sight following the fatal Capitol siege, president Donald Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday to trumpet one of the pillars of his presidency: his campaign against illegal immigration.
Trump’s visit to Alamo – no doubt a symbol of his defiance – comes as he spends the final days of his presidency isolated, aggrieved and staring down the prospect of a second impeachment after his supporters stormed the US Capitol last week in an effort to halt the peaceful transition of power to Joe Biden.
Aides have been urging Trump to instead use the days he has left in office to highlight what they see as the chief accomplishments of his presidency, like massive tax cuts.
But Trump has repeatedly resisted their efforts as he has remained ensconced in the White House, behind closed doors, consumed by baseless allegations of voter fraud and conspiracies.
The trip will mark the first time Trump has been seen in public since the speech he delivered to his supporters Wednesday, egging them on to “fight” before the Capitol violence.
Trump is expected to deliver remarks highlighting his administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and the progress made on his signature 2016 campaign promise: building a “big, beautiful wall” across the length of the southern border – an imposing structure made of concrete and reinforced steel.
Trump has demanded numerous strange modifications that have been largely rejected to the wall. He wanted it painted black to burn the hands of those who touched it; he wanted it adorned with deadly spikes; he even wanted to surround it with an alligator-filled moat.
In the end, his administration has overseen the construction of roughly 450 miles of border wall construction – likely reaching 475 miles by the time Joe Biden takes over as president in late January.
After the Capitol violence, which resulted in five deaths, groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center urged Trump to call off his visit to Texas.
“The violence Trump incited last week, and the violence his anti-immigrant policies cause stem from the alarming mainstreaming of white nationalist ideology that our country must reckon with and fight to uproot,” said Efrén Olivares, deputy legal director of the centre’s immigrant justice project. “The president’s planned trip to the border will only further the harm and beget more violence.”
Associated Press writers Ben Fox and Alexandra Jaffe in Washington and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.