Originally Posted: February 2, 2016
AUSTIN — On the first anniversary of his residence in the Texas Governor’s Mansion, Gov. Greg Abbott was in Israel, more than 7,000 miles from his home state. He was meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and once again railing against President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The trip, Abbott’s third international voyage in recent months, followed quickly on the heels of his headline-making plan to amend the U.S. Constitution and take back states’ rights, which he revealed earlier this month.
As many Texas governors before him have done, Abbott is placing himself squarely in the middle of national and international politics. The high-profile moves have many in the political sector wondering whether the newly minted governor is angling — as his recent predecessors have — for a run at the White House or another prominent national position.
Washington D.C. news outlet The Hill fueled those gossip flames on Tuesday, when it endorsed the idea of Abbott as GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s vice presidential choice.
“Trump – Abbott, that’s a ticket to make America great again and put the fear of God in America’s enemies, foreign and domestic!” writer Paul Nagy said in the blog post.
Abbott says he’s happy leading the “greatest state in the United States,” and experts say it’s too early to tell whether the governor may be aiming for national office. But Abbott’s moves do burnish his conservative bona fides during a presidential primary where his endorsement could make a difference.
“I think we shouldn’t be surprised that the governor of one of the largest, most populous states is inserting himself in the national conversation,” said Jim Henson, a University of Texas at Austin political scientist.
Even as attorney general, Abbott had a penchant for making a national scene with lawsuits challenging federal regulations that he said went too far and hurt the Texas economy. He sued the Obama administration over issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to clean air regulations.
“I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home,” Abbott famously said as attorney general.
Abbott’s distrust and disdain for the federal government continued during his first year as governor. He made national headlines last spring for ordering Texas National Guard troops to keep an eye on Jade Helm 15, a U.S. military training operation. READ MORE