Gov. Greg Abbott just smiles when asked about speculation that he might make a good running mate for Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
“First of all, we don’t even know who the presidential nominee is going to be for the Republicans,” Abbott said Saturday night before the Tarrant County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Fort Worth.
“And what I’m going to do, as governor of Texas, is continue to talk to these candidates to make sure [they] understand what the Texas issues are.”
Abbott, who has indicated that he would decline to be Trump’s vice president if asked, said he wants to make sure the GOP’s presidential nominee understands the U.S. Constitution, plans to secure the border and will work to “get us away from the overreaching federal government that we’ve been dealing with for the past seven years.”
As to whether he will make an endorsement in the presidential race, he had one response: “I’m going to wait and see.”
But he’ll be watching the Iowa caucuses — and votes cast in other states.
This is the most consequential presidential election in the past century. Gov. Greg Abbott
“This is the most consequential presidential election in the past century,” he said. “I and my fellow Americans will be watching very carefully.”
Abbott was the keynote speaker Saturday night at the local Lincoln Day dinner, Tarrant County’s largest GOP fundraiser each year.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams introduced Abbott to the crowd of around 1,000 — that included a host of local, state and congressional officials ranging from U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, to state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills — as “a man who is driven by faith, family and friends.”
He is reminding the federal government, … simply, do not mess with Texas. U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, said of Gov. Greg Abbott
“He defends our Constitution and he defends our Bill of Rights,” said Williams, whose district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County to Austin. “He is reminding the federal government, … simply, do not mess with Texas.”
Abbott, sworn in to office one year ago, has been in the headlines recently for everything from his third international voyage in recent months to whether he would be the right vice president if Donald Trump chosen as the GOP presidential nominee.
“Trump — Abbott, that’s a ticket to make America great again and put the fear of God in America’s enemies, foreign and domestic!” Paul Nagy wrote in a recent post for The Hill, a Washington, D.C., online news outlet.
But Saturday night, Abbott focused on Texas.
He talked about legislative accomplishments last year, such as signing open carry into law, and about ongoing work, specifically how “the state of Texas is continuing its investigation, going after anything Planned Parenthood did that was wrong.”
And he talked about the future, particularly about what he’d like to see happen in the Legislature next year.
He noted that laws passed next year “hinge on your votes in this primary election,” encouraging voters to ask candidates where they stand on the issues.
Among his top priorities: banning sanctuary cities, creating “real ethics reform … not the watered-down version” passed in 2016, “criminalizing the sale of baby body parts” and continuing to push back against federal mandates.
He also said Texas should tighten its belt a little it but also try to give taxpayers some relief.
Abbott also noted federal warnings about refugees and said he believes it’s time “we had a president who heeds warnings … and puts American safety first.”