Inside Gov. Abbott, President Trump’s relationship: Timeline of Texas governor’s fraught ties to former president

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump speak to media and tour a portion of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley on June 30, 2021 (Office of The Governor)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump have experienced a history of mixed support and political maneuverings.

However, on Sunday, Abbott appeared to clear the air in a way, endorsing Trump’s comeback campaign for the White House. The endorsement was set on a backdrop the Texas governor knows well and has also made clear his hawkish stance: the Texas-Mexico border.

Here is a timeline of support from the Texas governor for the former president, though this is not an exhaustive history of his backing of Trump.

Nov. 19, 2023

“We need Donald J. Trump back as our president of the United States of America,” Abbott said, promising Trump would secure the border and “restore law and order.”

Trump said the endorsement was a “tremendous honor” given how hard Abbott has worked to fortify the border under Democratic President Joe Biden.

“Mr. Governor, I am going to make your job much easier,” Trump said. “You’ll be able to focus on other things in Texas.”

Nov. 2, 2023

Abbott does not attend Trump’s campaign event in Houston, following a precedent that he has set prior to this stop. The Texas Tribune reported Abbott “instead made a surprise trip to Israel at the time, saying he wanted to show solidarity after the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.”

May 28, 2023

Trump goes after Abbott on his Truth Social platform, questioning why Abbott was not speaking out about the Texas House’s impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton, a top Trump ally in Texas. Trump later celebrated Paxton’s acquittal.

Oct. 18, 2022

Abbott skipped a Trump rally in Corpus Christi, Texas, for out-of-state fundraiser. The Washington Examiner reported, citing Abbott’s office, that he was absent because of a previously scheduled out-of-state fundraiser.

“I welcome President Trump back to Texas, though I won’t be able to welcome him personally since I will be out-of-state for a pre-planned fundraising trip to Florida,” Abbott said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

May 15, 2022

Trump highlighted Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s policies at an Austin Convention Center rally that authorized child abuse investigations against parents who provide adolescents with gender-affirming medical care. The Austin-American Statesman noted the initiative had been on hold after an Austin judge halted the investigations, but the Texas Supreme Court struck down that injunction and said state officials could resume the investigations.

Jan. 29, 2022

Video posted to social media and featured on Newsweek showed rally-goers booing Abbott as he took the stage at Trump’s rally.

Though Abbott aligned himself with Trump, some still called out “Abbott sucks” and jeered him as a “RINO” -- referring to the phrase “Republican in name only.”

June 1, 2021

Trump gave Abbott an early and crucial endorsement in his contested primary for reelection.

Aug. 15, 2017

Abbott called on President Trump for Hurricane Harvey help and Trump answered with an initial ask from lawmakers for $7.9 billion toward Harvey relief and recovery efforts. Trump made at least two visits to Texas in Harvey’s wake. Abbott accompanied the president and the former first lady on a visit to Houston.