The Stew Reporting on government and politics

Caught up in the shame game

Politics | Democrat publicly chastises Trump donors in Texas
by Harvest Prude
Posted 8/08/19, 04:49 pm

As soon as U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, tweeted a list of names of President Donald Trump’s donors from San Antonio on Monday, Justin Herricks heard about it from his employees. Soon, he was getting angry calls and social media messages.

“[They were] saying a lot of things about the businesses I have and about myself as a person—people telling me I’m a racist person,” Herricks, the president and CEO of Precision Pipe Rentals, told me. His name was on Castro’s list with 43 others who donated the maximum amount permitted under federal law to Trump’s reelection campaign.

“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” Castro tweeted. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’”

The Federal Election Commission reports all political contributions above a certain amount on its website. Republicans accused Castro of going a step further and trying to intimidate donors and voters. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tweeted that the post “is inviting harassment of these private citizens. At worst, he’s encouraging violence. … He’s listing people and their employers. This is a target list.”

Castro, whose identical twin brother Julián is running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, denied to MSNBC that his tweet was calling anyone to violence: “My post is actually a lament. I was saying it’s sad that many of these folks, who are prominent business owners in San Antonio, a city that is 65 percent Hispanic, are giving their money to a guy who’s running ads talking about Hispanics invading this country.”

Herricks said he called a meeting right away at one of his offices to talk with his employees about what happened. He said people responded positively. “It goes back to freedom of speech and really standing up for what you believe in,” Herricks said. “I think that everyone should come out and stand strong for what you believe in.”

James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said the tweet was part of a new, disturbing trend of shaming individuals who have differing religious and political views. He compared it to the city of San Antonio’s recent banning of Chick-fil-A from its airport over the fast-food chain’s donations to religious organizations that subscribe to a Biblical definition of marriage.

“It is frankly a dangerous place when a significant subset of the population believes that political differences no longer should be handled through persuasion and debate but instead through intimidation and threats,” Dickey said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, opened an investigation into the San Antonio City Council’s decision about Chick-fil-A. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, signed the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill into law July 18 to prevent state and local governments from discriminating against groups or individuals based on their membership in or donation to a religious organization. In a statement sent to WORLD, Paxton called Castro’s behavior “despicable, reckless, and downright outrageous,” adding it jeopardized the privacy and safety of his own constituents.

"However, the First Amendment generally protects the right to say despicable, reckless, and outrageous things,” Paxton said. “It will most likely be up to the voters of Rep. Castro's district to judge whether his behavior is acceptable enough.”

Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Neibergall Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Neibergall Former Vice President Joe Biden

2020 update

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Wednesday directly linked President Donald Trump to Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, accusing him of having “fanned the flames of white supremacy.”

“How far is it from Trump’s saying this ‘is an invasion’ to the shooter in El Paso declaring, ‘This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas?’” the former vice president asked.

Biden’s speech, delivered at a campaign rally in Burlington, Iowa, coincided with the president’s visit to El Paso to meet with first responders and shooting survivors. On Monday, Trump denounced white supremacy, saying, “Hate has no place in America.”

According to a Quinnipiac poll, Biden leads the crowded Democratic field with 32 percent of potential Democratic primary voters picking him. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts got a boost after the second round of Democratic debates and is now polling at 21 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont received 14 percent of the support from would-be voters, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California got 7 percent.

Mike Gravel, an anti-war activist and former U.S. senator from Alaska, dropped out of the Democratic race Tuesday. In a video announcing his decision, he endorsed Sanders. Gravel previously said his campaign’s only goal was to make it to the debate stage and criticize American involvement in overseas conflict. He never met the qualifications for the debates.

Many candidates have flocked to Iowa to win support during the state fair that started Thursday. According to this year’s schedule, 20 candidates will speak. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas decided to forgo campaigning in Iowa to remain in El Paso after the mass shooting there. —H.P.

Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite Sen. Rand Paul

On the mend

Both of Kentucky’s U.S. senators are recovering from medical complications during Congress’ summer recess. Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, underwent lung surgery to repair damage sustained during an attack by his neighbor two years ago, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke his shoulder in a fall.

Paul had part of his lung removed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., over the weekend. He tweeted he planned to limit his activities in August and return to work in the Senate next month. Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled him in his yard in November 2017 because he was upset about how Paul was stacking brush on his property. The attack left Paul with multiple broken ribs and lung injuries that led to pneumonia. Boucher pleaded guilty last year to assaulting a member of Congress.

McConnell “tripped at home on his outside patio and suffered a fractured shoulder,” his spokesman David Popp said. “He has been treated, released, and is working from home in Louisville.” —Anne K. Walters

Agent in Russia investigation sues feds

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who opened the investigation into Russian interference in 2016 U.S. presidential election, is suing the government over his firing last year.

In the lawsuit, Strzok claims the Department of Justice and FBI violated his First Amendment rights by firing him for text messages exchanged with his colleague and mistress, Lisa Page, during the 2016 campaign. The messages criticized then-candidate Donald Trump. Strzok also claims the agencies violated his due process rights by not allowing him to contest the decision and broke privacy laws when they shared the text exchanges with the media. The lawsuit notes an FBI disciplinary official recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended without pay but not fired over his conduct.

Strzok is seeking to get his job back and receive back pay as well as other damages. He told Congress that his political views did not influence his work on the Russia investigation or the handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. —A.K.W.

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and be logged in to the website to comment.
  • VISTA48
    Posted: Fri, 08/09/2019 06:04 am

    The stark contrast between Trump and many of his Democrat detractors is this: Trump targets individuals with position, power and influence, while his opponents quite often attack private citizens with a differing view. Castro and those like him embody the very thing they claim to decry.

    Posted: Fri, 08/09/2019 12:23 pm

    Castro publishing names of Republican presidential contributors is not much different than businesses in the South who would refuse to serve black folks after desegregation


  • CJ
    Posted: Fri, 08/09/2019 02:51 pm

    Please explain how the incidents are similar. 

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/11/2019 10:12 pm

    Once you label someone as evil, then nothing is off limits.  Shaming Republicans is thought to be a way to stop racism, bigotry, homophobia, islamophobia and to save the planet.  Lawmakers passed a bill labeling the President a racist.  They call him a Russian agent.  They say he wants mass murder.  They hold up his severed head or say they want to attack him.  Before the inauguration they were calling for his impeachment.  But they can’t name a single racist comment or impeachable offense.  We live in a world of lies, where nearly everything coming over the airwaves is a lie.  It is almost as if there is a prince of the power of the air causing all this.