The Texas Tribune reports:
Two staffers for the hardline conservative group Empower Texans have been caught on an audio recording disparaging Gov. Greg Abbott with profanity and joking about his wheelchair use.
Upon the comments surfacing Friday morning, Abbott’s office and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick denounced them and Empower Texans said the staffers were “suspended from all public activities with the organization immediately.”
The comments came on an unedited version of the group’s podcast, Texas Scorecard Radio, featuring Empower Texans’ vice president, Cary Cheshire, and general counsel, Tony McDonald. The audio was published — apparently inadvertently — Thursday.
The Dallas Morning News reports:
It’s not the first time that the Empower Texans group has roiled Texas politics with a recording. Sullivan, the leader of Empower Texans, taped a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and his top lieutenants, alleging that they offered Sullivan a “quid pro quo,” asking him to target 10 fellow Republicans in the primaries.
He also said that the groups would go easy on their favored members in exchange for media credentials on the House floor. Ultimately Bonnen decided not to run for reelection.
Empower Texans donates millions of dollars to far right conservatives while attacking moderate Republicans. The group in recent years has been angling for media legitimacy but has been denied access to the House floor.
The hateful @EmpowerTexans attack mocking Governor Abbott is outrageous, vulgar and completely unacceptable. @TweetTonyMac and @CaryCheshireTX are persona non grata in my book and anyone @EmpowerTexans who does not condemn this behavior. #txlege
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) June 19, 2020
.@GregAbbott_TX is a strong leader and a close personal friend. These comments are abhorrent & completely unacceptable, and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms. Texans are tough and we’ll get through this pandemic by working together, not by tearing each other apart.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 19, 2020
— Texas Freedom Caucus (@TxFreedomCaucus) June 19, 2020
NEW: @GovAbbott releases scathing statement after @quorumreport published leaked audio of Empower Texans staffers reportedly mocking the Governor for being in a wheelchair. The following statement from Abbott’s Press Secretary. pic.twitter.com/iwxWbx3LNP
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) June 19, 2020