Politics

Donald Trump endorses Texas Republicans at Conroe rally ahead of March primaries

Trump, who also hinted at a possible run for president in 2024, floated the idea of pardoning the rioters who took part in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather during a rally at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe on Jan. 29, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump publicly endorsed several Republican politicians vying for reelection in Texas this year at a rally in Conroe Saturday night, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Abbott and Paxton — along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who are both also up for reelection this year — spoke to the crowd ahead of Trump’s appearance. The Texas Republicans all touted their support of the former president and his policies, with Abbott stating that he was, “the only governor in the history of the United States to build a wall on our border."

Abbott has continued construction of Trump’s border wall using a combination of state funding and public donations. During his speech, Abbott said the state was using the same contractors proposed by the Trump administration.

The rally was held in Montgomery County — the county in which Trump performed the best during the 2020 election. Among those in attendance were Republican County Judge Mark Keough, who also supported the former president during a speech earlier in the evening.

Trump took the stage around 7:30 p.m. and launched into a nearly one and a half hour speech, beginning with the former president emphasizing the importance of the upcoming election in November.

“Nine months from now, the people of this state are going to send a thundering message,” he said. “You’re going to tell them ‘don’t mess with Texas,’ because Texas is never, ever turning blue.”

Trump then went on to voice his support of Abbott, Paxton, Patrick, and Miller, along with several Texas Republicans at the local and state level.

“They all have my complete and total endorsement,” Trump said.

A man draped in a “Trump 2024” banner waits for President Donald Trump to speak at a rally held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe on Jan. 29, 2022.

Thousands gathered at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in support of the 45th president, including Jaz Postrano, 26, who attended he rally with her boyfriend.

Postrano said she wasn’t completely swayed by Trump’s endorsements.

“So far, I don’t really see too much action with Greg Abbott,” Postrano said. “I do think the abortion law is a little strict, as far as not being able to abort…if you were to get raped or if it was incest, I feel that’s very too far.”

Postrano added that she was waiting for Trump to announce another run for office in 2024, which he heavily hinted at throughout his speech on Saturday night.

During his speech, Trump continued to repeat the false claim that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election and outlined several would-be priorities for his hypothetical 2024 campaign, such as immediately banning critical race theory and ensuring that those charged in connection to the U.S. Capitol insurrection were treated “fairly.”

"If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly,” he said. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons.”

At least 733 people have been charged in connection to the riot, according to the George Washington University Program on Extremism. At least 64 of those charged come from Texas, including 10 Houston-area residents.

Mike Parker, 33, attended the rally with his two children. He said he mostly agreed with Trump’s endorsements, and that his speech had left him feeling hopeful for the future.

“I feel that the red wave is coming and is on the way,” he said. ” The great reset is going to happen here come midterms.”

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