A Democrat judge in Texas has apologized for making an insensitive remark about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said during a panel discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas, that Abbott “hates trees because one fell on him,” in reference to the 1984 accident that left the governor paralyzed from the waist down.
The audience reportedly laughed at the quip.
Eckhardt’s comment was made at an event where panelists talked about the Texas Legislature’s decision to override local ordinances, such as one that involves cutting down trees in the state capital.
John Daniel Davidson, political editor for the Federalist, first reported the comment on Twitter Friday morning.
At #TribFest19 panel on progressive activism, @JudgeEckhardt, talking about #txlege overriding local ordinances like Austin’s tree ordinance, says Gov. Abbott “hates trees because one fell on him.” The crowd laughs.
— John Daniel Davidson (@johnddavidson) September 27, 2019
On Friday, Eckhardt issued an apology on Twitter and stated, “I made a mistake and I sincerely apologize to
@GregAbbott_TX. I have personally reached out to the Governor to apologize because my comment was inappropriate and wrong.”
In my panel today at the Texas Tribune Festival on ‘Public Enragement’ I spoke about the importance of being able to disagree without being disagreeable. Then I said something disagreeable. I want to apologize to Governor Abbott. I made a flippant comment that was inappropriate. The comment did nothing to further the debate I was participating in, much less further the political discourse in our community, state, and nation. While the Governor and I disagree on a number of issues, that is no excuse to be disagreeable.
Abbott was 26-years-old when an oak tree fell on him as he was jogging in Houston, Texas, in July of 1984. Reports said he sued the homeowner whose property the tree was located on and also the tree service company that had inspected it before it fell.
In 2013, Abbott said if he could repay all the money that has helped him adjust to life as a paraplegic in order to regain the use of his legs, he would.
“Money doesn’t heal anything. Money doesn’t allow me to walk. It doesn’t allow me to dance with my wife. It doesn’t allow me to pick up my daughter. It doesn’t allow me to walk my daughter down the aisle when she gets married. If you could name the person I could write the check to, I’d send all this money right back if I could walk again,” he concluded.