4
President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at one of his rallies, at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Oct. 17, 2019.
President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at one of his rallies, at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Oct. 17, 2019.
Melissa Hennings

Trump and Texas: 2019

There's a condition, one you've probably heard of if you've happened on any right-wing media over the last three years or have any acolytes of the president in your social circle, called Trump Derangement Syndrome. The idea is that Democrats and progressives have been driven to the brink by President Donald Trump, so much so that they've developed the malady, which causes them to focus on the president at the expense of everything else.

Those diagnosing TDS are right, but they're too limited in their patient evaluations. Just look at Texas — everyone with even a tangential connection to the state's politics has, in one way or another, had their professional life shaken to its core since 2016.

We've all gone deeply, terribly mad and things only got worse in 2019.

Here's a thorough, but nowhere near comprehensive, look at the president's effects on Texas this year.

Winter/Spring

1. President Trump shuts down the government as part of his ongoing tantrum at the border wall in January. Across the country, Transportation Security Administration agents go without pay, including workers at DFW International Airport.

"I can't speak for everybody, but it creates a burden — a financial burden — and it creates a burden on your mind, too," Rudy Garcia, president of the American Federation of Government Employees 1040 local, the union for Dallas TSA employees, told the Observer.

Democrats reached an agreement with Trump to reopen the government on Jan. 25, a little more than month after it began. Funding for the wall wasn't part of the deal.

Cops said the tagging on the Dallas Confederate Memorial, mostly washed off by the time this picture was taken, said something about Trump.EXPAND
Cops said the tagging on the Dallas Confederate Memorial, mostly washed off by the time this picture was taken, said something about Trump.
Jim Schutze

2. In February, a vandal hit Dallas' still-standing Confederate War Memorial. From Jim Schutze:

By the time I got there Monday afternoon, a city crew with a big power-wash truck had washed away most of the paint that vandals had sprayed on the Confederate memorial Sunday night or early Monday morning. Cops on the scene told me they had no suspects but said the tagging had said “something about Trump.”

Which kind of leaves a mystery. So far, President Donald Trump has seemed fairly pro-Confederate. Last Wednesday after a year of agony, the Dallas City Council voted to tear down the circle of statues next to City Hall — a lugubrious, poorly wrought post-Reconstruction celebration of Jim Crow — because … 21st century. So what was the tagging about?

Was the person or people who sprayed red paint on the memorial mad at the City Council? Happy at the City Council? Mad at Jim Crow? Was it done by Donald Trump? We may never know.

We can know only three things for sure. One, the Dallas Confederate Memorial was erected in 1887 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which has basically always been a bunch of war-torn rebel bitches standing around giving a big old middle finger to the Yankees and to African Americans.

Two, give people the finger long enough, they’re going to give it back to you. Three, not too many taggers took American history.


3. March brought the Dallas County Republican Party's annual Reagan Day Dinner, and a truly incredible lineup.

There's parody, self-parody and then whatever the hell the Dallas County Republican Party is doing with the lineup it's put together for its annual Reagan Day Dinner next week. The slate of speakers the local GOP has assembled is so absurd that, when first spotted in the wild by the Observer on Monday, we had to make sure that we weren't getting played. We weren't.

The dinner, for the record, was headlined by disgraced former EPA chief Scott Pruitt, disgraced former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the world's worst millennial, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.

Edgy.

Summer

4. Summer brought a lovely internecine fight between J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress. Greear said that pastors shouldn't be stooges for a political party, and Jeffress, a longtime stooge for Trump, protested too much.

5. The Supreme Court saved Texas from Trump, and itself, in June when it ruled that the citizenship question the Trump administration wanted to put on the census was unconstitutional. Had the question made its way onto the forms Americans fill out, it could've cost Texas billions.

6. East Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert gave a preview of insanity to come in late July, when he turned beet-red questioning former Special Counsel Robert Mueller about his investigation into Trump.

At various points during his five or so minutes questioning the former FBI director and prep-school classmate of the Observer's Jim Schutze, Gohmert introduced an op-ed he wrote for Hannity.com headlined "Mueller Unmasked," into the congressional record, suggested that one can't obstruct justice if one didn't do anything wrong and obsessed over Mueller's relationship with former FBI director James Comey, who, if he isn't the person most responsible for Trump getting elected president, is at least in the top five. 

Fall/Winter

Colin Allred at White Rock Lake
Colin Allred at White Rock Lake
Colin Allred for Congress

7. After sitting on their hands as long as possible, the stragglers among the Texas' Democratic U.S. House delegation hopped on the impeachment investigation bandwagon on Sept. 25, the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the launch of an official impeachment inquiry into Trump's allegedly withholding foreign aid from Ukraine for political gain.

For moderates like Colin Allred, it was a big step. His prospective 2020 opponents have hammered him on the decision ever since.

8. On Sept. 30, Jeffress, who could've made this list way more than twice, threatened a civil war-like fracture in American society if Trump was removed from office.

Pete Sessions speaks with reporters on Nov. 6, 2018, the night Dallas voters showed him the door.EXPAND
Pete Sessions speaks with reporters on Nov. 6, 2018, the night Dallas voters showed him the door.
Mike Stone/Getty Images

9. We only thought we were rid of Allred's 2018 opponent, Pete Sessions. As the Ukraine scandal began to unspool in October, the former congressman found himself in hot water when he was identified as Congressman-1 in indictments filed against two associates of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The men, according to the documents, committed to raising money for Sessions and asked him to help their effort to "remove or recall" Marie Yovanovitch, who was then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Stay tuned on this one.

10. During a meeting with conservative provocateur Michael Quinn Sullivan, soon-to-be former Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who was being surreptitiously recorded, said the quiet part out loud.

"Instead of killing each other and wasting a lot of money and energy, and I'm not being funny when I say this, and in 2022 if you want to come try and kill me and Dustin and every other person you can find, I would hope you would not feel you should or you need to, but fair. I just think we've got to get through 2020, guarantee if we try and hold this majority — which, with all due respect to Trump, who I love, by the way — he's killing us in urban-suburban districts," Bonnen said.

President Donald Trump's supporters gather outside the American Airlines Center on Oct. 17, 2019.
President Donald Trump's supporters gather outside the American Airlines Center on Oct. 17, 2019.
Melissa Hennings

11. Four years later, Trump returned to the site of his first Dallas rally in October, bringing his traveling circus to American Airlines Center in Victory Park.

As the president went on, he mocked Texas' leadership for asking for too much aid after Hurricane Harvey. He shouted out Louie Gohmert for being one of the 60 members of the U.S. House who refused to join a huge, bipartisan majority condemning Trump for abandoning Kurdish rebels along the Turkish-Syrian border.

He celebrated Rick Perry's time at the Department of Energy, announcing that the former Texas governor will be leaving his post at the end of the year.

Trump then did his best to memory-hole the last couple of weeks of his administration's foreign policy, telling the crowd that the new cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurds the U.S. government abandoned is the best thing for all parties.

Later, he ticked off all the states he won in the 2016 election, saying that it would've been easier if he'd only had to win the popular vote.

"I would've gone to like four states," he said.

12. The same day as Trump's Dallas rally, Perry announced that he planned to step down as Secretary of Energy at the end of 2019. At the time, information about the role Perry played in the Trump administration's atypical, second foreign policy channel with Ukraine was scarce. While the whole picture is still unclear, Perry's name popped up repeatedly in the coming weeks, with witnesses telling Congress that he was "in the loop" on Trump's alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine.

In an exit interview with Fox News, Perry didn't say much about Ukraine, but did say that he believed Trump was chosen by God to be president.

13. Mina Chang's chickens came home to roost in November. Chang, a longtime fixture on the Dallas philanthropic surface, was forced to resign from her position in Trump's State Department after NBC News discovered that her résumé was more fiction than fact. In truly Trumpian fashion, she stressed her "fidelity to the truth" in her resignation letter.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.