It took forever in political time — about a week in normal human time, but who's counting — but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott finally addressed the anti-illegal immigration fundraising letter he sent out the day before Patrick Crusius allegedly murdered 22 people in an El Paso Walmart.
"Address" is the key word, because the governor did not apologize for the letter or anything else.
The letter, unearthed by the Texas Signal and the Texas Tribune, implores its readers to "DEFEND Texas" by taking matters into their own hands before talking about the "45,000 illegal immigrants (who) were apprehended crossing the Mexican border into Texas" in June.
Abbott wrote that increased immigration is part of a Democratic plot to turn Texas blue.
"Unless you and I want liberals to succeed in their plan to transform Texas — and our entire country — through illegal immigration, this is a message we MUST send," he wrote.
In a manifesto published to the online forum 8chan just before the shooting, Crusius describes Texas as being invaded by Hispanics and says that the "heavy Hispanic population in Texas will make us a Democratic stronghold," leading to Democrats "win(ning) nearly every presidential election."
After the letter's contents became public, at least 15 news organizations — including the Observer — asked the governor's office for a comment about the mailer and its content, to no avail. Thursday at a gun violence roundtable in El Paso, Abbott finally took a question from El Paso Times reporter Aaron Montez about the controversy.
The governor grabbed for one of the oldest political crutches in the book.
"I did have the opportunity to visit with the El Paso delegation and help them understand that mistakes were made and, of course, correction has been made," Abbott said. "It emphasized the importance of making sure that rhetoric will not be used in any dangerous way. We will make sure that we work collaboratively in unification. I had the opportunity to visit with them for about an hour to fully discuss the issue."
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Texas Democrats, as you might imagine, weren't exactly satisfied with the governor's comments.
"Governor Abbott and the Republican Party’s white supremacist rhetoric, like that seen in Abbott’s fundraising mailer the day before the El Paso shooting, continues to be a major part of the problem," Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said. "Governor Abbott refuses to apologize for this racist fundraising mailer and won’t answer questions about ending his racist rhetoric immediately. Texans expect actions and solutions to curb racism, white supremacy, and gun violence in our state and in our country. Governor Abbott has an apology to make. The eyes of the world are on us.”