After a week of controversy surrounding President Donald Trump, he is scheduled to make a final public appearance as president in South Texas on Tuesday. His visit is being met with negative feedback from the community after the president incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week on the baseless premise that voter fraud led to President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The president will visit Alamo, near the city of McAllen, at an undisclosed time on Tuesday. According to the Associated Press, his visit will mark the completion of 450 miles of border wall, which the Department of Homeland Security announced last week.
Trump last visited the Rio Grande Valley in 2019, where supporters lined the street he drove by.
The RGV, a historically blue region in Texas, almost turned red in this past election. Trump gained more support in the border towns than he had during the 2016 election, losing to Biden by only 5%. One area did however make the switch. Just south of Laredo and north of the Valley, Zapata County flipped red for the first time in years, making national headlines.
The shift in support for Trump was seen in the form of organized caravan and Trump parades taking place leading up to the election. Such support was not seen in 2016.
Feelings about Trump have fluctuated in the Valley, where the Hispanic population accounts for more than 90% of 1.3 million residents in the area. With close proximity to Mexico, many residents are immigrants or are second- or third-generation Mexican-Americans. Trump's immigration policies have hit home for some in the RGV.
Trump's legacy before and after holding office included him calling Mexicans rapists, separating families at the border and his attempt to end the Dreamers program, which protects illegal immigrants who crossed into the U.S. as children.
On the other side of the coin, it is also a place where the gap between those who have a college education compared to the state—and country—as a whole is more than 15 percentage points. It's common for Valley residents to work at oil refineries, and many support Trump for his views on the oil and gas industry, which employs them and helps put food on the table for their families. Another industry vibrant in the Valley is the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agency.
@CaslerNoel There are two Border Patrol stations...stations, not just checkpoints...near Alamo, Texas. BP loves Tru… https://t.co/ifMUAzJRqC— Cherie Bozoudes (@Cherie Bozoudes)1610332284.0
This visit from Trump, however, is being met with resistance on social media. Across the nation, the Republican party is facing a division caused by Trump, who incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol. Some are shifting their support away from him after the incident.
@CityofAlamo Please do everything in your power to discourage Trump from soiling our community on January 12. Stop… https://t.co/CC3TKCD0Z1— KahokFan99 (@KahokFan99)1610322084.0
I wasn't aware of such planned visit from a president to the RGV. It it said that Trump will visit the Valley on T… https://t.co/NygLLMWZzo— Elizabeth M. (@Elizabeth M.)1610386395.0
Trump visiting the RGV (Alamo, TX, not The Alamo) is a slap in the face to every single person that has been denied… https://t.co/nUHxhhE1FM— Jenn Longoria (@Jenn Longoria)1610325456.0
Valley Central reports Hidalgo Democratic Party Chair Norma Ramirez is concerned about Trump's visit amid a growing number of coronavirus cases. But Hidalgo County Republican Chair Adrienne Peña said his visit will be a positive thing for the community.
Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.
The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Salute the support. 👏
It's only the beginning for @AustinFC. pic.twitter.com/TduorqYr2y
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
Eleven players took the stage as Austin FC players for the first time, with five starters making their MLS debut. "Ringleader" Alex Ring took the captain's armband and wore it well. The defensive midfielder could be seen leading his teammates through their first ever match, but it wasn't enough to stage an Austin takeover in LA.
In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team played with quickness and intensity, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. It was harder for them to stay in front, however, something that Wolff credits with quick decision making and a tough LAFC defense.
"We have a quick attacking team, but I think when you make quick attacks and it fizzles it's just about some decision making," Wolff said. "Are we in position to finish attacks? If not, can we reestablish our attack and get stuff better?"
The club was given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
LA pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense wasn't initially as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and a 34-year old Matt Besler held his own in center back.
As the second half commenced, however, it became clear that LAFC had the advantage over Austin's first major league team.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had his work cut out for him, fending off 24 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. He didn't have much time to prepare, either: in the first 30 seconds of play, Stuver had already made a save to keep the match 0-0.
LAFC finally connected in the 61st minute of play as Corey Baird shot one into the bottom right corner. The team capitalized off their momentum and put one past Stuver a second time, drawing roars of approval from the LAFC crowd.
While some last-minute attempts from Jon Gallagher and others were made, Austin FC didn't have the endurance to bring a tie. After seven additional minutes of stoppage time, the club lost their first match 2-0.
While the scoreboard tells one story, Wolff said that the team did well considering the skill of LAFC and the pressure of their club debut.
"We've got to be realistic," Wolff said. "This is the first time this organization has been in front of TV with an opportunity to show itself and I think there were some promising moments. And we're going to maximize those and continue to try to develop those, but there's lots to build on."
The team may have lost, but it still won the support of thousands of Verde fans, dozens of which made it to watch their team's first match. When Stuver and the team made it to bthe stadium, Los Verdes fans were already there to show support, and Stuver said his wife saw the same back in Austin.
"The moment that we pulled into the stadium, we saw Black and Verde fans cheering us on as we got to the stadium," Stuver said. "During warm up, you can just look around and see different groups sitting in different sections of the stadium and it's just truly amazing to see the support in our first game. We know that we want to give the fans everything, because this we play for the city and we play for them."