Leaders of the Republican Party in Texas have been publishing conspiracy theories and racist posts on social media in response to the national protests against anti-Black policing. Amid calls for them to step down, all have refused.
Bexar County Republican Chairwoman Cynthia Brehm posted a now-deleted Facebook post in which she claimed George Floyd’s May 25 death was actually a “staged event” to spark opposition to President Donald Trump.
In her post Brehm wrote, “I think there is at the very least the ‘possibility’ that this was a filmed public execution of a black man by a white cop, with the purpose of creating racial tensions and driving a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people that have already been psychologically traumatized by Covid 19 fears.”
— Gilbert Garcia (@gilgamesh470) June 3, 2020
There’s absolutely zero proof whatsoever that Floyd’s murder was a fabricated hoax—he was killed after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he begged for his life.
Nueces County GOP Chair Jim Kaelin shared her post, calling it an “interesting perspective.” Harrison County GOP chair Lee Lester shared her post as well as “food for thought.”
It’s worth noting that on May 22, Brehm claimed that Democrats were overemphasizing coronavirus just to hurt Trump.
Similarly, Comal County GOP Chair Sue Piner, posted a message with an image of Jewish billionaire and political reformer George Soros which read, “I pay white cops to murder black people. And then I pay black people to riot because race wars keep the sheep in line.”
Elsewhere, Keith Nielsen, the GOP chairman-elect in Harris County, posted an image on Facebook showing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — on a background with a banana. Associating Black people with apes and monkeys is a long-used racist trope to insult Black people as sub-human wild animals.
In response to calls for him to resign, Nielsen wrote, “It is unfortunate that the sentiment of the quote and my admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been overshadowed by people’s misinterpretation of an image… My hope is I will continue to be part of the solution and never part of the problem.”
He didn’t explain why his image had a banana in it.
Republicans in Texas and in the U.S. Congress have said that the GOP leaders who made the racist posts should step down. None of the GOP leaders have said that they will.
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Texas GOP Sues Houston to Host 6,000-Person Convention in COVID-19 Hotspot
The Texas Republican Party was all set to hold a 6,000-person convention in Houston this next week even though the city is located in Harris County, the Texas county with the highest overall number of coronavirus cases. But because the county has averaged around 950 new COVID-19 cases each day over the last week, Houston’s Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner effectively canceled the event on July 8.
But now the Texas GOP is suing for the right to hold the event anyway as the convention’s preliminary meetings were set to start next Monday. This last Thursday, a district court judge rejected the state GOP’s request, so now the state GOP has appealed to the Texas State Supreme Court which will hear arguments on Saturday.
The state GOP’s argument is essentially that Turner allowed thousands of racial justice protesters to congregate in the city over the last month, so why not a bunch of Republicans?
“[Turner] didn’t say a word when 60,000 people protested in the streets of Houston,” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick recently said on Fox News. “Many of these people [are] now in the hospitals that are causing the spike.” But that’s a lie, as a thorough June 24 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found no evidence that racial justice protests caused an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, health officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma believe a recent spike in COVID-19 cases there were caused by President Donald Trump’s June 20 rally, which packed several thousand people into an indoor arena.
It’s telling that Patrick, Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott, and other state GOP leaders all planned to skip the Texas GOP convention in person, opting instead to deliver their speeches by video. Even the state’s Republican-led Supreme Court won’t hear arguments about the convention in person, opting instead for virtual video conferencing.
Houston Health Authority David Persse has called the GOP convention “a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of convention attendees, workers, local hotel and restaurant owners and Houstonians.”
Convention organizers pledged to conduct temperature checks, deeply clean all public spaces, maintain social distancing and offer free face masks and hand sanitizer stations throughout the convention. But Republican Texas U.S. House Representative Dan Crenshaw also approved Mayor Turner’s decision, calling it “a prudent move for public health.”
Greg Abbott Wastes No Time in Making Texas First State to Ban Refugees After Trump Executive Order
The Lone Star state’s motto is “friendship,” but Republicans there want to be left alone – at least when it comes to refugees.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has wasted no time in making the nation’s second-largest state the first to ban refugees from settling anywhere within its massive 268,000 square mile boundaries. (Only Alaska is bigger.)
Abbott, whose a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, is taking advantage of a Trump executive order that purports to allow states to refuse refugees the right to resettle. The Trump administration effectively lowered the number of refugees entering the country in 2019 to 30,000 – a 70 percent drop from Obama-era levels. The White House under the direction of top Trump advisor Stephen Miller, a white nationalist, is working to make that number even lower.
A federal judge this week “voiced skepticism,” The Wall Street Journal reports, if Trump’s executive order is legal.
PBS Newshour adds that governors in 42 states across the nation signaled they are willing to accept refugees.
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