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Abbott, Cruz: Biden Administration Bears Responsibility for Texas National Guardsman's Drowning Death

Screenshot via Fox News

DEL RIO, TEXAS – In a pair of interviews on my Fox News radio show yesterday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz mourned the loss of a 22-year-old Texas National Guard soldier who drowned while saving two alleged narcotics traffickers in the Rio Grande last Friday. They also blasted the Biden administration, arguing that the president's failing immigration policies are at least partially to blame for Specialist Bishop Evans' death. Here's the governor: 


Abbott: Obviously it’s a tragedy and it -- but -- but it demonstrates the sense of heroism, the sense of valor that the -- these National Guard members have. They are willing to put their lives on the line, even when it looks like somebody else is losing their life and they -- they knowingly put themselves in danger to try to save somebody else’s life. And that’s exactly what this National Guard soldier did. And so I consider them to be both a Texas and American hero. At the same time, it’s a travesty that we as a state have to deploy National Guard as well as Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border, and we have to do so because of the Biden administration's mis-handling of border security. As you know and your -- and your listeners need to know, there is an inadequate number of border patrol officers on the border. ICE has been basically decimated by the Biden administration. Of the border patrol members who are down there, they don’t really get to patrol the border like they’re supposed to be doing because they’re doing paper processing work and for all these people that are arriving across the border. And so basically border patrol officers had been reduced to paper pushers. And Texas is having to stand up and put soldiers on the border to secure the border as much as we possibly can...

GB:  ...The federal government should be doing its job in a way that they are not. So [Evans] was put in this position by those failures. Is it too harsh to say that the Biden administrations at least shoulders some responsibility for this young man’s death?

Abbott:  That’s 100 percent correct. So Texas is coming out of pocket from our taxpayers almost $4 billion to pay for things like Operation Lone Star, to pay for the National Guard who are on the border, to pay for the BPS officers on the border, to pay for the border wall that Texas is building, to pay for the boat blockades we’re putting up. And maybe where you're located you're seeing us build a razor wire that put mile after mile of razor wire up...all these different things we’re doing are a direct consequence of the Biden administration’s failure.

I also asked Abbott about recent comments from Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O'Rourke, who not only endorsed the immediate lifting of Title 42, but actually said it should never have been implemented at all – even during the teeth of the pandemic: 

The governor told me Texas voters will become well acquainted with that particular sound bite: 

Well that segment that he had on MSNBC, the people in Texas are going to hear a lot of that in TV commercials in the days to come because the people of Texas, their number one issue is to secure the border, stop the illegal immigration. And they're going to know fully not just what Beto said on that clip that you played there but also what Beto said when he ran for the president of the United States but Beto stands for open borders. Beto would have implemented the exact same open border policies that Joe Biden is implementing. 

Sen. Cruz was even more direct in laying blame for the horrible drowning in Eagle Pass at the feet of the president and his team: 

"This is yet another death that for which the Biden administration is directly responsible. We have the 13 servicemen and women who were murdered in Afghanistan as a result of their disastrously failed withdrawal and surrender to the Taliban. And now yet another serviceman, the National Guardsman, who was answering the call, was stepping forward to defend his nation, and he died selflessly saving the lives of others. And this shouldn’t have had to happen...Were it not for the lawlessness of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the refusal to enforce the law? The odds are very good. This National Guardsmen who would still be with us and still living because they would not have been needing to combat the chaos at the border caused by Biden and Harris.”

Operation Lone Star would not exist if not for Biden's deepening, historic crisis. Evans would not have been stationed at the border in the absence of Operation Lone Star. One need not fully subscribe to the "blood on Biden's hands" approach to believe that this is some callous, perfunctory buck-passing by the White House: 

Biden smeared Border Patrol agents last year, instantly embracing a false narrative about their non-existent misconduct. By contrast, days after this drowning of an American soldier – who died in the process of saving alleged drug smugglers, whose illicit activity has been incentivized by Biden's horrendous border policies – Biden himself has said nothing. All we've gotten is a rote profession of sadness from his spokeswoman, who instantly shifted the blame to the state of Texas. Appalling. 

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