WACO — Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing back against the suggestion that his support for Donald Trump is lukewarm, saying "of course" he is all in for the Republican presidential nominee — and that he hopes Trump wins Texas by double digits.
"Listen, this election is a binary choice — it's not none of the above," Abbott told The Texas Tribune here Thursday when questioned about the extent of his support for Trump. "The future of America is going to be dramatically affected by the outcome of this race."
"Aside from all of the optics that are going on out there, policy-wise, there is a huge contrast that will set America on a complete polar opposite direction depending on the outcome of this election," Abbott added, speaking with the Tribune before a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Abbott, who supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the GOP presidential primary season, has been viewed as a less-than-vocal backer of Trump. Since Trump became the presumptive nominee, Abbott has rarely praised Trump by name and passed on opportunities to campaign with the nominee in Texas.
On Thursday, however, Abbott was a bit more laudatory than usual, saying he trusts Trump to appoint conservative judges, secure the border and cut government regulations.
"Trump is stepping up and doing what Texans are asking for, and that is securing the border," Abbott said, later adding, "I think Trump understands the necessity and the ways that we can reduce regulations."
Abbott's appearance at the luncheon came hours after the release of another poll showing an unusually close race for the White House in Texas, a solidly red state. The Texas Lyceum survey found Trump leading Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by only 7 percentage points among likely voters.
“We are not going to take Texas for granted," Abbott said. "I and my team that I put together in my governor’s race — we formed the most formidable ground game ever that’s existed in the state of Texas — we are unleashing it across the state of Texas. This will ensure what we will hope will be a double-digit victory."
Abbott is putting his political operation into use Saturday, when he is set to campaign in San Antonio with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, who is in a heated rematch with Alpine Democrat Pete Gallego.