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'Cruel and Barbaric': Four Times Gov. Greg Abbott Has Sparred with Out-of-State Politicians

Gov. Greg Abbott has a bone to pick with many Democrats.
Gov. Greg Abbott has a bone to pick with many Democrats. "Caricature: Texas Governor Greg Abbott" by DonkeyHotey is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.
Gov. Greg Abbott is up for reelection, squaring off against Democrat Beto O’Rourke in November. The Republican incumbent doesn’t hold back in attack ads, which he’s been airing since before O’Rourke had even announced his candidacy.

But O’Rourke is far from the only Democrat on the governor’s list. And many of Abbott’s targets don’t even live in Texas.

Abbott took aim this week at the Democratic mayors of New York City and Washington, D.C. The leaders had lambasted Texas' governor for busing migrants to their cities, although Abbott has denied sending anyone to NYC.

In a letter Monday, Abbott invited the mayors to visit his state’s border so they could “see firsthand the dire situation that only grows more urgent with each passing day.”

Later, speaking on FOX, he blamed the border crisis on President Joe Biden, adding that those mayors have only gotten a small taste of what Texas contends with.

“We’re going to keep sending those buses up there until they fully understand,” Abbott vowed.
Here are three other times that Abbott's had beef with out-of-state politicians.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is a vocal Abbott critic. Last month, he took out full-page ads in three Texas papers slamming the Republican’s supposed pro-life stance.

The ads changed one of Abbott's anti-abortion tweets to reflect California’s progressive politics.

“Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet … children lose their right to life every year because of abortion,” the ad reads in part, with the word “abortion” crossed out and replaced with “gun violence.”
Newsom’s ads coincided with new California gun restrictions modeled after Texas’ anti-abortion law, which empowers private citizens to sue those who they believe broke the ban.

Months earlier, following the Uvalde school shooting, Abbott insisted that firearm control wouldn’t solve gun violence. He argued that Los Angeles, Chicago and New York’s firearm crimes “disprove that thesis.”

Newsom wasn’t having it.

“Governor Abbott just name-checked the state of California,” he said at the time. “I would caution him from doing that, particularly when you can just go to the CDC website and look at that gun murder rate in 2020 that was 67% higher than the state of California in 2020.”
Illinois Governor, Chicago Mayor

Abbott’s post-Uvalde comments about Chicago gun violence also made a pair of Illinois politicians see red.

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker tweeted on May 25: “Shame on you, @GovAbbott.” In another post, he claimed that Abbott had lied about Chicago and the roots of firearm violence.

"The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws," Pritzker wrote in a Twitter thread. "Do better. You have 19 kids and two teachers who deserve our best."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, another Democrat, similarly clapped back at Texas’ governor.

"Gov. Abbott, instead of coming after my city, take a moment to think about how YOU can stop this carnage,” she wrote. “I work day and night to stop the violence. I see the suffering. Open your eyes. Lives are being lost. Be a part of the solution or get the hell out of the way."
President Joe Biden, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The bickering between Biden and Abbott long predates Uvalde.

In March 2021, after Texas lifted pandemic masking requirements, the Democratic president slammed the move as “Neanderthal thinking.” The two again locked horns amid a baby formula shortage this year, with Abbott criticizing the president for allocating supplies to detained migrants.

“Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first — not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve,” the governor said in a statement.

Many condemned Abbott over his stance, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeting that "The Republican, 'pro-life' position is now that certain babies should starve."
Top Chef host and progressive activist Padma Lakshmi echoed Biden’s “Neanderthal thinking” diss, tweeting, "The baby formula shortage is a nightmare for all parents and caregivers. Using this crisis to deny immigrant children nourishment is cruel and barbaric."
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter