Texas congressman who tweeted names of Trump donors accused of ‘encouraging violence’

Joaquin Castro is 'encouraging violence', presidential campaign spokesman says  

Michael Brice-Saddler
Wednesday 07 August 2019 11:52
Joaquin Castro with his brother after a Democratic presidential candidate debate
Joaquin Castro with his brother after a Democratic presidential candidate debate

The 44 names Texas congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted have at least two things in common: they are all constituents in his district and moreover, they all donated the maximum amount to Donald Trump’s campaign this year.

The Democrat brother of presidential hopeful Julián Castro said the people listed – including retirees, business owners and other individuals whose names are public record – were “fuelling a campaign of hate.”

He wrote: “Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump – the owner of ⁦@BillMillerBarBQ⁩, owner of the ⁦@HistoricPearl, realtor Phyllis Browning, etc. Their contributions are fuelling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders.”

Mr Castro, who also serves as campaign chairman for his brother’s presidential campaign, has subsequently tried to deflect the intense criticism from Republican lawmakers and others.

They contended that Mr Castro was “targeting” the listed donors by tweeting their names to his thousands of followers; a serious accusation in the aftermath of two weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead and many more wounded.

“This is grossly inappropriate, especially in the wake of recent tragic shootings,” replied Texas senator John Cornyn.

“This win-at-all-costs mentality, publicly targeting an opponent’s supporters, and encouraging retaliation is dangerous and not what Texans have a right to expect from their members of congress.”

Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy and senator Ted Cruz offered similar sentiments. The latter accused Mr Castro of “doxxing” his own constituents.

Shortly before the gunman accused in the El Paso massacre began shooting, authorities say, he posted a manifesto warning of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas”.

For Mr Castro, the operative word there is “invasion” – a word President Trump has also used repeatedly to describe immigrants who enter through the southern border.

“[Mr Trump] cannot play the blame game,” Mr Castro tweeted. “The El Paso terrorist manifesto included language that is eerily similar to the language the president has used to dehumanise and demonise Hispanic immigrants in this country. That violence just spilled over.”

Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, tweeted that Mr Castro was “inviting harassment” of the private citizens listed.

“At worst, he’s encouraging violence,” Mr Murtaugh wrote. “This is a target list.”

In a separate statement to The Washington Post, Mr Murtaugh said “this naming of private citizens and their employers is reckless and irresponsible. He is endangering the safety of people he is supposed to be representing. No one should be targeted for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political beliefs. He should delete the tweet, apologise, and his brother’s campaign should disavow it.”

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Mr Murtaugh also said he reported Mr Castro’s tweet for harassment using Twitter’s reporting feature.

In several tweets, Mr Castro said the names he posted were publicly accessible and his tweet was not a “call to action.”

He also referred to recent reports that the Trump campaign had paid for thousands of ads on Facebook that use the word “invasion" in reference to immigration.

“Donald Trump has put a target on the back of millions,” Mr Castro said in one response. “How about I stop mentioning Trump’s public campaign donors and he stops using their money for ads that fuel hate?”

The Washington Post

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