Dallas Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions found himself in the middle of an angry left-wing media mob Wednesday afternoon after Talking Points Memo posted a video in which the House Rules Committee chairman appears to blame a Highland Park woman for being murdered by her husband.
Sessions' trouble began when he took a question from conservative activist Jeff Morgan at a June 23 meeting of the Greater Garland Republican Organization. After blaming school shootings on the growth of "broken homes" in the United States, Morgan asks Sessions about the possibility of ending no-fault divorce in Texas — essentially, requiring the spouse suing for divorce to prove that the other spouse did something wrong in order to get a legal divorce.
Sessions, who is known for giving winding, often difficult to understand answers to questions, pointed to a series of murders in Dallas County several years ago as the reason no-fault divorce is necessary.
“Dallas County, a few years ago, went through a number of terrible shootings. And I gathered together, they were at the time Republican district judges, and I said ‘Guys, men, women, we’ve now had I think four or five shootings.’ One of them was from a big-time guy in Highland Park, who went and killed his wife, just gunned her down. And that was because the judge was unfair, and the woman was unfair. And she demanded something, and he was out. And it was frustration,” Sessions said. “So now we go through the court system. And unfortunately lives have to be lost and there has to be tragedy — there now is a better system.”
Sessions' office has not specified which case the congressman is talking about. When reached by the Observer, Caroline Boothe, Sessions' chief of staff, gave us the following statement:
“Pete was discussing a terrible situation where an individual felt he had been railroaded by a court and then committed a horrific act of violence. By no means does Pete condone any act such as this. In fact, Pete met with judges and court officials to encourage them to address the frailties in the system and to do more to prevent this kind of tragic family violence from occurring.”
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Sessions' Democratic opponent for re-election, Colin Allred, said in a statement that the congressman's comments are out of step with those he represents.
"Pete Sessions' justifying the tragic murder of a woman in North Texas is disgraceful and inexcusable, and shows just how out of touch he is with our community," Allred said. "No sensible person would excuse domestic violence and the murder of a woman; these are not the values of North Texans."
Shaunna Thomas, the executive director of national women's group UltraViolet, took things a step further, saying that Sessions' remarks made him unfit to serve.
"Women are being killed every day in this country, and yet Congressman Sessions expresses sympathy for perpetrators of this heinous crime," Thomas said. "Sessions is a domestic violence apologist, and his misogynist ideology disqualifies him from public office and serving his constituents.”