Former Texas state Sen. and current gubernatorial candidate Don Huffines called Gov. Greg Abbott a “RINO” on Saturday, a fact he suggested was reinforced by the governor’s absence from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas over the weekend.
Huffines, a Republican, announced his primary challenge against Abbott on May 10, criticizing the coronavirus pandemic measures that were implemented last year by the governor and promising to take stronger action toward border security, property taxes, and elections.
“Where is Greg Abbott?” Huffines said Saturday. “Why isn’t he here? He’s not here because he doesn’t want to face you.”
Former President Donald Trump, who spoke onstage Sunday during the final day of CPAC, endorsed Abbott on June 1 as he seeks his third term as governor of the Lone Star State in 2022.
Trump has praised Abbott for his efforts to secure the southern border, his support of law enforcement, his economic policies, and his support of the Second Amendment.
Still, Huffines claimed Abbott has not adequately responded to the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border.
“Greg Abbott’s been governor for six years. He could have secured the border six years ago or six months ago,” Huffines said. “Why isn’t the border secure?”
“We don’t have a Donald Trump as governor, we don’t have a Ron DeSantis as governor, [and] we don’t have a William B. Travis as governor. Unfortunately, we’ve got a career politician that’s a political windsock, a RINO,” Huffines added.
Trump and Abbott both visited Texas’s border with Mexico on June 30 to participate in a briefing about security, all the while criticizing President Joe Biden‘s administration for the record-breaking rise of migrants passing through the border.
The United States is contending with a large surge of migrants traversing its southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 180,034 migrants along the southwest border in May 2021, and reports indicate that an unprecedented 117,000 migrant children will enter the U.S. by the end of the year. The most recent border surge saw the arrival of 80,000 unaccompanied minors at the southern border in 2019.
Allen West, a former U.S. congressman from Florida and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, also recently announced his bid to challenge Abbott for the GOP nomination.
The Washington Examiner contacted Abbott’s office but did not immediately receive a response.