Behind the Scenes: Visiting the U.S.-Mexico Border

June 24, 2021

So much of what you see about elected officials and candidates is filtered through a biased media that twists words and narratives, and isn’t interested in understanding the real story. As we move forward, I want to make sure you get an authentic, behind the scenes look at my time in the White House and now on the campaign trail – straight from me and my team. Let’s start at a place the Biden-Harris administration is neglecting: the U.S.-Mexico border.

One of the things we finalized over a weekend at Camp David was for President Trump to take a trip to the border to make his case for the wall. Prior to the president’s border visit, we also planned for the president to deliver his first nationally televised Oval Office address to the country on the shutdown and border crisis. I worked with all of the major television networks to nail down a block of prime time for the president to give his address Tuesday night ahead of the border visit.

The next morning I went to Stephen Miller’s second-floor office and worked directly with him, Jared Kushner, and Derek Lyons on the address. We spent the next several hours going in and out of the back dining room of the Oval Office, consulting with the president and writing and rewriting. We must have gone back and forth a half-dozen times. The president wanted to open his first Oval Office address to the country with a list of his economic accomplishments. We recommended he keep his remarks focused on the crisis at the border and his solution to it. Still unresolved, we took a break.

That night the president walked down the colonnade to deliver his first Oval Office address. He sat at the Resolute desk with pictures of his parents and the American and presidential flags behind him. Only the pool television network and a few senior staff were present in the room. I held my breath as the clock struck 9:00 p.m. and the president began his remarks to the country. We had won the debate on the opening, and I still have the first page of that draft where we got to strike through it with the words VICTORY written in all red caps at the top of the page.

Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.…

The next day I attended a meeting in the Cabinet Room with the president and congressional leadership. The president brought in some candy, and offered to share with Chuck and Nancy. The candy was from a place in New York that both Schumer and Trump knew well. They spent the first few minutes reminiscing about life in New York. There is a bit of friendliness between them, but it didn’t last long once the meeting got under way.

Nancy immediately asked, “Why are you hurting people with this shutdown?”

“I don’t want to hurt anybody,” said the president. “I want to protect our country and our people. We can open up the government today. You say you want border security. If we open the government today, in thirty days will you also fund border security, including the wall?”

“No,” Pelosi said.

The president calmly said, “Okay, then this is a waste of time. Bye-bye.”

The president walked out, and Pelosi lost it.

The next day I flew on Air Force One with the president to McAllen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the most heavily trafficked areas for illegal border crossings. At a US Border Patrol station, the president talked with the brave men and women protecting us along our southern border and with relatives of law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty by illegal immigrants in front of a cache of seized guns, drugs, and money.

CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta went down ahead of President Trump to do some “investigative reporting” on the border, and posted a video of himself in front of a section of border wall: “I found some steel slats down on the border,” said Acosta. “But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation, at least not in the McAllen, Texas, area of the border where Trump will be today.” I tweeted back to Acosta: “When I went with President @realDonaldTrump to the border today I never imagined @Acosta would be there doing our job for us and so clearly explaining why WALLS WORK. Thanks Jim!”

Thank you for reading,