Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) is facing backlash for publicly targeting President Donald Trump’s political supporters.
Castro, whose twin brother Julian is seeking the 2020 Democrat nomination, released a list via social media on Monday containing the names of dozens of individuals, within his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, that contributed the maximum amount toTrump’s reelection campaign. Not only did the congressman post the names of the 44 individuals in question, he also included their occupations and employers.
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” Castro wrote on his unverified campaign account, before proceeding to list the individuals who are “fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.'”
Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’ pic.twitter.com/YT85IBF19u
— Joaquin Castro (@Castro4Congress) August 6, 2019
Despite the contributors’ information being publicly available in Federal Election Commission filings, the manner in which Castro released the information and his explicit shaming of local business owners on the list raised concerns the congressman was targeting these individuals for harassment or worse.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was one of the first Republicans to denounce Castro’s action as “shameful and dangerous.”
Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous. What happened to “when they go low, we go high?” Or does that no longer matter when your brother is polling at 1%? Americans deserve better. https://t.co/PiFcifpxc1
— Kevin McCarthy (@kevinomccarthy) August 6, 2019
The sentiment was quickly echoed by a number of others, including the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and both of the United States Senators from Texas.
Democrat leaders hate @realDonaldTrump’s supporters so much they’re now doxxing them.
Imagine the media outrage if Republicans did this.https://t.co/YaCDTYT8ZV
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 6, 2019
EVERYONE needs to tone the hateful partisan rhetoric way down. This is WRONG & Castro should retract it. In our constitutional Republic, the People rightly hold their representatives accountable; elected representatives should not be vilifying & doxxing their own constituents. https://t.co/rrgQbK7PLU
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 6, 2019
This is grossly inappropriate, especially in the wake of recent tragic shootings. This win-at-all-costs mentality, publicly targeting an opponent’s supporters, and encouraging retaliation is dangerous and not what Texans have a right to expect from their members of Congress. https://t.co/Ecw4mszp4Y
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) August 6, 2019
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who survived a politically motivated assassination attempt in 2017, took to social media himself to say that Castro’s list was dangerous and put lives “at stake.”
People should not be personally targeted for their political views. Period. This isn’t a game. It’s dangerous, and lives are at stake. I know this firsthand. https://t.co/PbxUMIOhae
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 6, 2019
In the face of such backlash, Castro attempted to distance himself from the list by saying his staff was behind its creation. The congressman, though, defended his decision to share it, by claiming the Trump campaign “has stoked fear of brown-skinned immigrants.”
2nd, what I said is true — your campaign has stoked fear of brown-skinned immigrants. Those contributions hv been used to pay for over 2K @Facebook ads declaring an invasion by Hispanics.
That is truly dangerous for millions.
Will you commit not to run another ad like that? 2/2
— Joaquin Castro (@Castro4Congress) August 6, 2019
Hours later, Castro again defended his actions – this time from his official congressional Twitter account. In a reply to McCarthy, Castro wrote that “no one was targeted or harassed” by his sharing of the list. He further added that Republicans, like the minority leader, were trying to use his list to “distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP.”
No one was targeted or harassed in my post. You know that. All that info is routinely published.
You’re trying to distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP and the fact that President Trump spends donor money on thousands of ads about Hispanics “invading” America. 1/2 https://t.co/TwUDC4m5tO
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 7, 2019
Democrats and their allies within the media, however, were quick to jump to Castro’s defense. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), no stranger to controversy herself, praised Castro for exposing to the public “who funds racism.”
Chairman Castro, They don't like it when you name their donors. The public needs to know who funds racism. https://t.co/7qfg1RT79y
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 7, 2019
Joe Scarborough, a one-time Republican congressman who now hosts a MSNBC morning show and writes songs praising “the resistance” to Trump, was particularly stringent in his defense of Castro. The MSNBC host claimed “any business” donating to the president’s reelection was “complicit” and “endorsing white supremacy.”
“Any business that donates to Trump is complicit and endorses the white supremacy he espoused in Charlottesville, with his ‘send her back’ chants, and by laughing at shouts that Hispanic immigrants should be shot,” Scarboughouh wrote. “Donors’ names are on FEC reports. They are newsworthy.”
Any business that donates to Trump is complicit and endorses the white supremacy he espoused in Charlottesville, with his “send her back” chants, and by laughing at shouts that Hispanic immigrants should be shot. Donors’ names are on FEC reports. They are newsworthy.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 6, 2019