Just one day before a gunman walked into an El Paso, Texas, Walmart and killed 22 people, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent out a disturbing fundraising letter urging Texans to defend the state and “take matters into our own hands.”
In “just three weeks in June, 45,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended crossing the Mexican border into Texas!” Abbott wrote. “That amounts to the entire population of Galveston – every three weeks. In just six months, we’d add the population of Arlington!”
He continued: “If we’re going to DEFEND Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands," adding, “The problems of illegal immigration never reach swanky limousine-liberal neighborhoods in New York and California!”
“Doing nothing will only lead to disaster for Texas,” Abbott went on. “How many are we NOT catching because of Washington DC’s inaction – and members of BOTH parties’ refusal to work with President Trump to secure our border?”
Such alarmist language surrounding immigration, especially that which could be perceived as a call to violence, has received increased attention in the wake of the El Paso shooting.
As the Guardian noted: “The suspect, who traveled from a Dallas suburb 600 miles away, said the mass shooting was a ‘response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas’ in his hate-filled document.”
Yet Abbott, like others in the Republican Party, has not spoken out about the type of rhetoric often espoused by President Donald Trump; instead, when asked about the issue earlier this month, the governor “responded by repeating a Trump talking point about low unemployment rates among black and Hispanic workers.”
Abbott’s fundraising letter might shed light on just why he is unable to criticize Trump’s dangerous words: the Texas governor uses them himself.