Cornyn, Cruz in holding pattern on Trump visit

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, speaks while fellow Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) listens as Federal officials, Lawmakers and local officials hold a roundtable at the U.S. Border Patrol station on Friday, June 22, 2018, in Weslaco. (Joel Martinez |

Less than 48 hours before President Trump is scheduled to visit South Texas, the state’s two U.S. Senators don’t know if they’ll accompany the president on his tour of the Texas-Mexico border.

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans, were still uncertain late Tuesday if they would join Trump on Thursday’s Air Force One flight to McAllen, according to aides. Nearly a year ago, when Vice President Mike Pence flew to McAllen for a border tour, Cruz flew with Pence on Air Force Two.

During his presidency, Trump has gotten along well with Cornyn and Cruz publicly. Cornyn, most recently the majority whip in the U.S. Senate, helped pass various pieces of legislation that Trump has supported. And after Trump and Cruz clashed on the campaign trail for president in 2016, the two have mostly praised each other ever since Trump took office. In October, Trump even campaigned for Cruz in Houston during the senator’s re-election campaign.

Thursday’s schedule has not yet been disclosed, but the Rio Grande Valley is bracing for Trump’s visit.

“We haven’t been officially notified, but we’re preparing for the possibility of a visit,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said Monday. “We hope the president visits the Valley and we certainly invite him to do so.”

The closest Trump has come to the Valley is Laredo, when he campaigned there while running for president in 2016. Cornyn and Cruz are much more familiar with South Texas, each visiting multiple times per year.

Cornyn last visited the Valley alongside Cruz in June during the family separations crisis, which resulted in federal authorities splitting up some 2,500 immigrant families at the southwest border. That was the first time Cornyn and Cruz have ever been in the Valley together.