SAN ANTONIO — As his re-election campaign marches on and the state he presides over contends with the aftermath of a tragic school shooting, a continued influx of migrants arriving at the southern border and the fallout of Roe v. Wade's overturning, Gov. Greg Abbott spoke with KENS 5's Deborah Knapp about some of the most urgent issues on Texans' minds.
In the Friday interview, Abbott responded to the misinformation in the early days after the Robb Elementary massacre, claims that he's creating a crisis in the nation's capitol by busing migrants there and suggested one way Texas could enforce abortion bans in cities that have suggested they'll defy such an order.
Read the full interview below, or watch it above.
Deborah Knapp: Governor, you went to a fundraiser on the day of the shooting in Uvalde, and at a news conference the next day you said you just stopped in to let people know you couldn't stay. But this week, the Dallas Morning News reports you were there for almost three hours. What do you say to the people of Uvalde?
Governor Abbott: Well, first, obviously, with regard to that, I wanted to explain to the people there what had happened in Abilene, where I was at a fire before arriving in Huntsville. And then I wanted to let them know what was going on in Uvalde and then took questions about that. I was in contact constantly with either my office or with the Texas Department of Public Safety, making sure we were getting all the information that needed to be obtained. And then, importantly, I completely shut down my campaign altogether, and did nothing but focus on the people of Uvalde. And in fact, I've been in Uvalde every single month since the tragedy took place, including right now, where I continue to work with the people of Uvalde, responding to their needs.
Knapp: Governor, you said you were livid you were given the wrong information that in fact 376 law enforcement officers waited more than an hour to confront the gunman. Who gave you that wrong information?
Abbott: I was in a briefing room that was filled with law enforcement officers at all levels of law enforcement, ranging from the school district to the local police, to the Texas Department of Public Safety to the sheriff's office, as well as border patrol officers. So there was a lot of information that was provided to me. You may recall that I wrote down that information on handwritten notes that I made public so that the public would be able to see exactly what I wrote down. And those notes correspond with what I provided to the public. As you point out, it turned out that the facts of what really happened were inconsistent with what was provided to me and what I wrote down. So obviously, I was livid about that.
But very importantly, since then, there's been the revelation of the videotape, as well as the audio tapes, as well as the report that was provided by the Texas House of Representatives that provide, in minute detail, a lot more about what happened. And so we have a clearer picture now. The most important thing we can do is to make sure that the parents, the families, the victims and the people of Uvalde know exactly what happened. And I gotta tell you this: There's more to come, because there's still the FBI investigation, investigation by the United States Department of Justice, as well as by the Texas Rangers.
But by the time we finish with all of the investigations, everyone will, for one, know exactly what happened. But, for another, we will know as a state how to move forward from this tragedy, what needs to be done in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Knapp: We certainly hope we never see this again, officers standing around for an hour.
Knapp: Now to the border. In April, you began sending busloads of migrants to the nation's capitol and protested the Biden administration's immigration policies. Now the mayor of Washington, D.C. is asking the National Guard to step in and handle the thousands of people who have arrived there. She calls your operation abhorrent, and it's creating a humanitarian crisis. What do you have to say?
Abbott: That's pure hypocrisy on their part. Washington, D.C. has declared itself a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. They should be more than happy to be receiving these immigrants in there. But here's what we have found nationally: Leaders in Washington, D.C., including the president himself, they're just fine as long as the border issue remains at the border. But they get all flustered and frustrated when they themselves have to deal with the border crisis in Washington, D.C.
And just know this: We continue to send even more people by bus to Washington, D.C. They haven't seen anything yet when it comes to the number of people that will be bused from Texas to Washington, D.C.
Knapp: And, governor, now on abortion. The trigger law goes into effect August 25. The law will increase the criminal and civil penalties associated with abortion. Some cities like Austin are not following through with the abortion ban. What is your plan to enforce it?
Abbott: Well, I think the law includes an enforcement mechanism for the attorney general of Texas to also enforce the law.