MCALLEN, Texas (Nexstar) — At a roundtable discussion during his visit to Texas, President Donald Trump said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had floated the idea of having Texas help with building a border wall.
“One of the things that Dan Patrick suggested, which I thought was very interesting was, give the state of Texas a relatively small amount of money,” President Trump said during a roundtable discussion. “They’ll build a wall themselves because they want to build it. I thought that was not the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”
A spokesperson from Patrick’s office confirmed that the Lieutenant Governor had this exchange with President Trump.
“The Lt. Governor told the President that if the federal government will reimburse the state for that money, we will build the wall in areas where it is needed along our 1,254-mile border – the largest border with Mexico of any state,” his spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Patrick, who was also in McAllen Thursday, missed the first day of the 86h Legislative Session earlier in the week. He had traveled to the White House to meet with Jared Kushner to discuss border security issues ahead of President Trump’s address to the nation and visit to Texas.
“This is a real crisis and the Democrats, the media who say it’s not are either deniers or deceivers,” Trump told reporters.
He also said he plans to continue pushing state funding for border operations.
“The $800 million that I have put in border security each budget that I will put in again in this budget, not quite half of that goes to paying state troopers across the entire state for a 10-hour workday,” he said.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling also says “there are a lot more dynamics” when it comes to border issues than simply just a border wall.
“You don’t come here to necessarily solve the problem, but realize it’s more than just a wall,” he said. “In our area, it’s more important from an economic standpoint than people in the rest of the country appreciate or know.”
Darling called his town the “safety city in the state of Texas,” but he wants the President’s visit to still draw attention to specific needs to improving border security beyond a wall.
“Our fences and bridges and ports of entry – there’s a lot of need there,” he said. “We have 10,000 people come across the Hidalgo bridge and we still have 1960 technology there, so there’s a lot of need from that standpoint and infrastructure.”
Drugs and money seized by law enforcement were on display at the roundtable discussion. President Trump added his border security plans include more than just a border wall.
“Our plan includes drug detection technology at our ports, more officers and agents and far more, far more beds to house the influx of unlawful migrants, medical support, closing the disastrous loopholes that incentivize child smuggling – the single biggest victims of what’s happening at our borders,” he said.