`I did win, right?’ George P. Bush on being booed at the Republican Convention

Good day Austin:

I headed to the Republican State Convention a week ago Monday, and was there all week. But somehow, I very nearly missed what I now consider my favorite moment, even though I was present for it

It was during George P. Bush’s speech to the convention on Friday afternoon.

Because my laptops’ battery is weak and I need to keep it plugged in most of the time, and because there were precious few outlets in the hall at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, I spent most of the general session seated on the hard cement floor (though on the last day I found a single chair that wasn’t attached to a row of chairs that I could move near an outlet and sit on).

The first day, I was up toward the front of the hall, but by the second day, they day Bush spoke,  the good outlets were taken and, I was seated on the floor pretty far back between the men’s and women’s rooms (or as Republicans refer to them in their platform, biological men and biological women) in an acoustically challenged part of the hall where you could hear the speaker and then also also the speaker’s echo.

I knew Bush’s speech could prove a dramatic moment. How would he be received? Would there be any boos from delegates unhappy with his supervision of the Alamo. At some point during his speech I moved into one of the empty seats in the back of the hall to get a better look at Bush as he spoke.

But, even then, when the dramatic moment arrived, I somehow missed the best part.

After recounting his support for President Trump, and amid his trumpeting his successes as the “most conservative” land commissioner in Texas history, Bush bragged about his stewardship of the Alamo.

Bush: And despite the fake news you may have been reading in the liberal media we’ve been busy saving and strengthening the Alamo for generations to come.

This was met with some boos and jeers from the crowd.

Bush smiled and let loose with a classic response, which amid the boos and jeers and the bad acoustics, I missed but which is beautifully clear in the livestream of the convention, which I watched for the first time last night.

Here it is:

Bush: I did win, right?

How great is that?

Before his speech, Bush met with reporters at the convention center.

Miguel Suazo, Bush’s Democratic opponent was spending a few hours next door to the convention in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Hotel talking to reporters. I asked Bush about Suazo’s position that the Alamo Cenotaph, the big memorial statue that dominates the plaza in front of the Alamo, should remain right where it is, and that the General Land Office should negotiate a new deal with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who had managed the Alamo until Bush became commissioner, so the Daughters could return to that role.


Bush: 

Well, I think if you look at the track record over the last four years the average observer would see nothing but  success on the grounds of the Alamo, an historical appropriation from the state of Texas, buy-in from the city of San Antonio, a $5 million master plan that’s been completed, a roadshow that incorporated 40 public feedback. forums.

We are on the precipice for the first time in Alamo history to bring it back to the origins of 1836.

So, I’m excited by the track record, looking forward to a vigorous campaign where we’ll discuss the differences of opinion. It’s in safe hands with the GLO and we look forward to an even brighter 300 years.

And the Cenotaph?

Bush:

So as part of the process, we are in the middle of the public feedback component, so the fourth of five steps that were agreed to by the city of San Antonio, the board and the General Land Office. 

So we just released last week the designs that show more deference to the site. There’s different concepts within it to either keep the Cenotaph as it is or move it just about 100 yards south of the south gate, which was the entry to the Alamo, but would actually dignify the Cenotaph more than where it currently is and restore the original battlefield of 1836.

As part of that process we still have 20 public town hall forums that we’ll be hosting here in San Antonio and throughout the state, then a recommendation comes to the working committee, and then the final decision is made by me and the mayor.

Patrick Svitek asked if he had any regrets about the way he and his campaign characterized a leaked draft report of an internal audit that I had written about in February.

From my May 31 story:

The Texas General Land Office released an internal audit Thursday critical of accounting practices at the Alamo that is consistent with a draft report from September that the American-Statesman had obtained and written about in February but which Land Commissioner George P. Bush had described as “doctored.”

The document, which questions the use of a nonprofit to manage the Alamo, was characterized by the agency as a “proactive internal audit of the Alamo’s accounting and financial management — the first of its kind in Alamo history — undertaken by the Texas General Land Office to modernize and reinforce oversight and accountability.”

“Many of the recommendations have already been implemented while others are being fulfilled through the implementation of a new Alamo management contract with the Alamo Trust,” Bush said in the statement.

The audit begins with the internal auditors’ “overall conclusions,” which are presented in language identical to the draft report quoted by the Statesman in February and which agency spokeswoman Brittany Eck said then had been “altered,” but would not say how.

At the time, Bush was being challenged in the Republican primary by his predecessor, Jerry Patterson, and two other candidates, who made his management of the state’s most hallowed site a central issue in the campaign. Eck said then that the audit would be made public in the spring. In the meantime, Bush’s campaign labeled the Statesman story “fake news,” and Bush won the March 6 primary, with 58 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Patterson and 12 percent for the two other candidates, Davey Edwards and Rick Range.

In answer to Svitek:

Bush: No regrets. I think what is lost in the discussion is that this about the public trust. We had an employee in the middle of a campaign release a document that wasn’t finalized. This was an internal work product and for anybody who serves in city government, county governments, state government, you know that until the product is finished .. you have to wait.

Here is what his campaign said at the time.

 

Back to the convention press conference.

Bush: I never disagreed with the conclusions and the  recommendations.  That’s why we proactively held the audit in the first place and  been working on it since then to rectify those recommendations The problem is that whe  an employee who has a disagreement with the boss who happens to be an elected official in the middle of a campaign, releases a document. that’s problematic and that was the concern.

Is there an ongoing investigation on the release of the audit?

There is. I was recently briefed that he Texas Rangers are still investigating it so we will report back if there is a conclusion or if there is a resolution to that.

We  have rectified and have responses  to all the recommendations that are in the audit. We have improved oversight  in my opinion form a finance standpoint by putting in GLO full-time employee as the CFO along with several other FTE’s to have a little more direct oversight on the financial picture.

How was the draft audit “doctored?”

BUSH: It wasn’t complete and that it was changed  and it was altered,  not in the recommendations and I think theres’ where the  clarification exists, the recommendations I never said were changed, there were responses in the appendix in the back part of the memo, if you red-lined what was leaked and what we just released, you’ll see some changes and some differences and our focus at the GLO is taking security very seriously.  We live in a world were cyber attacks occur daily. We maintain personally identifiable information as defined by the federal Privacy Act and so we take it very seriously. So we are proactive about it, we made changes and  I think that’s what people want out of their  leadership.

What happened to the leaker?

BUSH: That individual was let go and I can’t go into deeper specifics beyond that. We are continuing the investigation at the advice  of the Texas Rangers and we’ll brief you as to the resolution or outcome of the full investigation.

R.G Ratcliffe of Texas Monthly asked about the convention’s Alamo platform plank “that doesn’t mention you but is aimed at you.”

The Alamo plank was shepherded by Ray Myers, the head of the Kaufman County Tea Party, who chaired the state affairs subcommittee of the convention’s Platform Committee. He is seen here, at right, at a Save the Cenotaph rally last year with Rick Range, one of three candidates to run against Bush in  the Republican primary in March.

In the next session, Myers is looking to enlist legislators to move the Alamo from the jurisdiction of the GLO to Parks and Wildlife to get it out from under Bush’s control.

RATCLIFFE: What will your feelings be if the delegates show displeasure?

BUSH: I think its going to be a positive reception. We won with – we doubled up the gentleman who held the office the second-longest in Texas behind Garry Mauro who’s been in politics since the 90s. We also had two other challengers and we avoided a runoff. So I think it was a strong showing.

This is about us coming together as a party after some difficult primaries and difficult choices and difficult stances that we’ve all had to take but then aiming fire at the … Democratic Party but then also reaching out and expanding the tent, reaching out to moderates and Independents and Democrats. That’s how I won with more than votes any other candidate but for Sen. Cornyn in 2014.

Ratcliffe asked Bush what he thought about the family separations at the border.

BUSH: To me its reflective of the failure of DC politics.  This an issue that is all too familiar to folks on the border, to folks in Texas.

And separating arents and children?

BUSH: Well I don’t want to dive into specifics, but I know that we’re having difficulty triaging between legitimate asylum cases … and other cases which are folks that are trying to get here illegally.  There are legitimate claims that can be made for political intimidation and violent threats in other jurisdictions but our resources from all ends of the spectrum are spread thin.

This was on Friday in what is a very fast-moving story.

Three days later, Bush’s father made his feelings plain

It proved to be a politically costly tweet for his son.

From Asher Price in today’s paper.

Donald Trump Jr. is canceling an appearance at a New York fundraiser for Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush next week, according to The Associated Press, citing anonymous sources.

The move comes after George P. Bush’s father, former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, tweeted on Monday that “children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool” and that President Donald Trump should end his “heartless policy” of family separation.

On Sunday, George P. Bush’s aunt, former first lady Laura Bush, also criticized family separations on the border in a Washington Post opinion piece.

According to an invitation to the event posted on the website of the New York GOP, the event in New York City on June 25 has a suggested contribution of $5,000 for admittance to a private reception and $1,000 for admittance to a general reception. The “young professional” rate is $250.

Donald Trump, Jr. is listed as a “special guest” — the only speaker other than George P. Bush listed on the invite.

Asked Tuesday by the American-Statesman whether George P. Bush has made any public pronouncements about the family separations at the border, General Land Office spokeswoman Brittany Eck said, “this is an issue area for the campaign.” George P. Bush appears to have remained silent on the issue on Twitter and his office did not make him available for an interview.

Messages left by the Statesman with Donald Trump Jr., the Trump Organization and the George P. Bush campaign were not returned on Tuesday.

From Jonathan Swann and Alayna Treene at Axios.

The backdrop: During the 2016 presidential campaign, George P. broke with his family to support Trump — a move that signaled he’d decided to adapt to, rather than the resist, the new direction of the GOP. His support earned him not only the backing of Don Jr, but also an endorsement from the president in February.

How things unraveled: Sources close to Don Jr. say that Jeb Bush’s tweet was the final straw in what he sees as repeated attacks from the Bush family.

-Don Jr. was furious after Jeb Bush said in March that, despite losing the 2016 election, at least he goes home to children “who still love me,” which Don Jr. perceived as a swipe at Trump.

-Don Jr. reached out to George P., who was apologetic, according to the sources close to the president’s son. And when Don Jr. fired back at Jeb on Twitter, he purposefully left George P. out of it.

– Earlier this month, Jeb Bush also told CNBC that he “can’t imagine having to attack” his rivals in the way President Trump does to “make himself look strong.”

– Don Jr. called George P. again, and George P. “apologized profusely,” according to the sources, telling Don Jr. that he had already talked to his father and that it would not happen again. 

– After that, Don Jr. said he could no longer help George P. if his dad continued to attack the president.

The bottom line: The sources tell us that Don likes George P. and that canceling the event isn’t personal. He considers George P. “collateral damage.”

Oh man.

You’d think that Donald Trump Jr. would have more sympathy for someone who can’t control his father’s tweeting.

Unless of course, Bush secretly agrees with his father on this one.

After I found a chair at the Republican State Convention. (Creating fake news is not as glamorous as it sounds.)

At Maverick PAC he founded, Ted Cruz finds himself amid a younger Hurd’s herd of less polarizing politicians

Good Monday Austin:

I spent Friday and Saturday night at the Maverick PAC Mavericks Conference.

Traveling back from Dallas, I arrived just in time Friday night.

There were protesters outside Brazos Hall who had marched up from a rally at Republic Square protesting the separation of immigrant families at the border.

Maverick PAC appeared well-heeled. They had Brazos Hall Friday night and the Moody Theater at Austin City Limits. There was food. There was an open bar.

And the protesters – or at any rate their presence outside – got shout-outs from the stage, a kind of satisfied recognition that their gathering was significant enough to merit pickets.

This was not a Texas tea party audience. The several hundred attendants were generally young, successful businesspeople from around country who, collectively, contribute about a quarter million dollars through the PAC to help other young Republican candidates like themselves win election to Congress.

While now national, Maverick PAC got its start 15 years ago with young alumni of the George W. Bush presidential campaign in Texas, starting with Cruz and George P. Bush, now Texas land commissioner, way before either of them had run for anything.

On Friday night, Cruz and Maverick co-chairs Morgan Outages and Fritz Brogan answered a few questions from reporters, including Stephanie Hamill of the Daily Caller in D.C.

Hamill asked Cruz about the importance of MavPAC.

I wanted to follow-up on what Cruz had told Patrick Svitek earlier in the day, during an appearance in Cedar Park, about his role in the pardon of Dinesh D’Souza – Dartmouth’s answer to Joe Arpaio.

And then, like a Russian nesting doll of credit-claiming, there is this.

ALEX JONES (HOST): ​You know, we really pushed it to Trump. He didn’t even know that [former sheriff Joe] Arpaio had been “convicted” by a judge of contempt and was facing a year in prison. And I know a lot of folks pushed [Dinesh] D’Souza. In fact, I personally pushed [Roger] Stone — I’m just bragging, this is true, I know other people did it, other people did as well — D’Souza, D’Souza, D’Souza, D’Souza, D’Souza. Because that will bring all that up and show the hypocrisy. I know for a fact Stone brought that up to Trump because he told me he did.

 

I asked about Cruz to review his role in the Dinesh D’Souza pardon.

CRUZ: I’m very glad the president chose to pardon Dinesh D’Souza because I think the Obama administration’s prosecution of him was incredibly unfair. It was political persecution is what it is. The crime he was charged of was an offense that typically is handled with a civil fine and it’s typically handled with a slap on the wrist but because he was a such a prominent  critic of Barack Obama, the Obama administration targeted him and charged him with a felony.

It was an abuse of power. It was abuse of power when it happened. I spoke out against it then and in fact it was right about the same time you may recall, when the Obama administration targeted a filmmaker right after the Benghazi attack happened, and they tried to blame the Benghazi attack on a filmmaker. Turned out that was not true but they went back and put that filmmaker in jail, a year in jail on unrelated charges.

Listen, I don’t think we should countenance the administration of justice being used for political and partisan ends. That’s what was done under the Obama administration.

So I had the opportunity to raise the issue with President Trump, I encouraged him to pardon Dinesh D’Souza and I’m very grateful the president made the decision to do so.

I asked Sen. Cruz if he considered D’Souza a friend and an ideological soul mate.

CRUZ:  Dinesh and I are friends.

CRUZ:  I think he has been very effective tearing down many of the lies of the far left.

CRUZ: You know it’s interesting. You see liberals on Twitter  going crazy that they’re so upset he was pardoned.

What’s interesting  is, just a few weeks ago we saw revelations that Rosie O’Donnell  apparently committed the same offense five times, five times, when she broke the identical law that Dinesh was prosecuted for.  I don’t recall any of those liberal activists on Twitter calling for Rose O’Donnell to be prosecuted.

The Department of Justice and the criminal justice system should not be used as a partisan tool and the Obama administration far too often put politics ahead of the rule of law so I am glad that President Trump made the decision  to issue the pardon.

I think the pardon furthers justice because criminal prosecutions shouldn’t be used to score partisan ends.

I asked if Sen. Cruz thought Trump was sending a message about his use of the pardon.

CRUZ: I  think the message of the pardon is very simple, which is that justice should be served and political prosecutions are not just and that’s exactly  what happened with Dinesh D’Souza.

And by the way, none of the people who are decrying – I read some of the editorials saying how terrible it was  he was pardoned – no one takes issue with the fact that his prosecution and his sentence were grossly disproportionate to  just about anybody else who had committed the exact same offense.

Imagine the reaction Jonathan,  during he Bush years, imagine if the George W. Bush  Justice Department had gone out there and  prosecuted Michael Moore or Alec Baldwin or any of the other liberals in Hollywood who criticize the president. That would have ben obviously wrong.  The press would have been completely against it.

And yet when the Obama administration targeted a conservative filmmaker, you didn’t get the same outcry. I’m glad the president stood up and stood for the principles of juice by pardoning what aw an unfair political prosecution.

For an alternative view, here is Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times.

During Barack Obama’s administration, the conservative author and activist Dinesh D’Souza wrote a book, “Obama’s America,” full of gross speculations about the sex life of the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who was a pioneering anthropologist. “Ann’s sexual adventuring may seem a little surprising in view of the fact that she was a large woman who kept getting larger,” wrote D’Souza. He described her as a “playgirl” who used “her American background and economic and social power to purchase the romantic attention of third-world men.”

D’Souza’s insinuations had little to do with his ostensible thesis, which was that Obama sought to undermine America. It was simply a timeworn insult — calling someone’s mom fat and promiscuous — that tells us nothing about Obama’s family, but a lot about D’Souza’s character.

Besides being a huckster and a sexist weasel, D’Souza is a felon who, in 2014, pleaded guilty to routing illegal campaign donations through a woman he was having an affair with, and the woman’s husband. (At the time, D’Souza was married and serving as president of the evangelical King’s College. His ex-wife would later accuse him of physical abuse.) For his crime, he spent eight months in a halfway house. On Thursday, Donald Trump gave him a full pardon, tweeting that D’Souza had been “treated very unfairly by our government.”

Trump’s action, a clear abuse of his pardoning power for political ends, serves several purposes. Most seriously, the D’Souza pardon, like those of the former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and the former Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby, is a message to Trump confederates facing legal trouble. It says that if they stay strong, he’ll take care of them. As a former federal prosecutor, Joyce Alene, pointed out on Twitter, D’Souza was convicted of one of the same crimes, a campaign finance violation, that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen is now being investigated for.

The pardon is also a culture war smoke bomb, distracting from manifold other scandals and disasters: the study estimating that around 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria; outrage over migrant children ripped from their parents’ arms at the border; and an incipient trade war with our allies. Adding to the diversionary spectacle, on Thursday, Trump told reporters that he was considering commuting the sentence of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, a onetime contestant on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” and pardoning Martha Stewart, who hosted a “Celebrity Apprentice” spinoff.

D’Souza, who made his name in the 1990s fighting campus political correctness, once had a reputation as a middlebrow conservative provocateur, but he’s really more gutter-dwelling troll. His 1995 book “The End of Racism” argued, “In summary, the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well,” and called for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. D’Souza wrote a bizarre book blaming the “cultural left” for provoking the jihadists who struck America on Sept. 11 and arguing for an alliance of the American right and conservative Muslims in “opposition to American social and cultural depravity.” During the Obama years he, like Trump, became a full-bore conspiracy theorist, accusing the president of spearheading a third-world scheme to subvert America.

In the Trump era, he’s become even worse. He mocked survivors of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting who cried after the Florida Legislature voted down an assault weapons ban, tweeting, “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.” (He later apologized.)

He described Rosa Parks as an “overrated” Democrat. He played a major role in spreading the lie — which Barr tweeted on Tuesday — that the billionaire financier George Soros, who was a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Hungary, was really a Nazi collaborator.

And now Trump has singled this man out for grace. One former White House official, speaking to BuzzFeed News, denied that there was “any grand strategic reasoning” behind the pardon, which may well be true. But even if Trump was acting out of instinct rather than calculation, he has an intuitive ability to speak to his supporters’ dark impulses, and an insatiable need to smash boundaries that constrained his predecessors.

The fact that D’Souza is utterly undeserving of a pardon might be part of the point; it signals that fealty to the president transcends all other values. In his new book “The Road to Unfreedom,” the historian Timothy Snyder quotes the Russian fascist philosopher Ivan Ilyin, who is beloved by Putin’s circle. Fascism, Ilyin wrote approvingly, is “a redemptive excess of patriotic arbitrariness.” Trump has almost certainly never read this line, but he understands it.

Not all critics of the pardon are on the left.

Back to the MAVPAC press gaggle Friday night with Cruz:

Stephanie Hamill: Your opponent. His real name is Robert, correct, not Beto, and you released an ad and you highlighted the absurdity of a white man using the nickname Beto. As  Latina and a daughter of an immigrant, I’m kind of in the same boat as you, so when I hear somebody using that name, and to me I find that pandering for votes.

What’s you reaction to the criticism of  left over the ad that you put out.

Cruz: Well, we had some fun, I actually think in campaigning, it’s important to have some fun.

In it included a line, “Lberal Robert wanted to fit in so he changed his name to Beto and did it with a grin.”

That was done to be light, to have fun. But I’ve got to say the reaction of some Democrats, the reaction of some folks in the media was predictable. They stamped their feet they were so upset. How dare you point out that his name is Robert Francis.

And was also quite amusing  to see som of the Democrats explain,  “No, no,no, you don’t understand, Congressman O”Rourke is Robert Francs, he’s not Hispanic.. He just has  an Hispanic nickname. Whereas Cruz ….  his name is Rafael, he is he son of a Cuban immigrant, he’s Hispanics, but he uses the nickname Ted, aha, we got you.”

Well, I don’t know if this counts as stamping my feet, but when the ad came out I did a First Reading in which I wrote:

I think that little ditty contains within it everything you will need to know about the Cruz campaign against O’Rourke. This is not based on anything anyone has told me. It is simply my intuition.

Ted Cruz means to do nothing less than crush Beto O’Rourke’s candidacy and do so by destroying his good name, or at least, his first name, by turning BETO into a four-letter word, an epithet to be spit out in anger or, better yet, derision, the telling diminutive of a liberal beguiler, imposter and poseur, who is either an opportunist trying to fool Hispanic voters into thinking he is, at least in part, one of them, or, some kind of deluded, self-hating Anglo (albeit Irish-American Anglo), whose sentimental, fuzzy-headed, liberal notions of bi-nationalism and multiculturalism have robbed him of the most basic understanding that what makes Texas Texas is a strong border and unfettered access to guns.

The jingle, and Cruz’s follow-up comments, send the message to his voters that Cruz — the Hispanic son of an immigrant — is, by taking the name “Ted,” assimilating the way it’s supposed to be done, while O’Rourke, by calling himself Beto, is going weirdly the other way, undermining what made America great.

Little Beto, in the photo at the top of First Reading, may look innocent, but, Cruz’s jingle tells us, don’t believe it.

And, one would think, if O”Rourke’s parents were planning a pander knowing that he would one day be running for Senate on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Francis Kennedy – that Irish Catholic Democrat with famous appeal to Hispanic voters and who, in hair and teeth and general affect, O’Rourke is already frequently likened to – they would have stitched Robert Francis on his pre-school sweater.

For the record, here is what O’Rourke told me about his the derivation of his nickname.

My grandfather, Robert V. Williams, who passed away when I was 4 years old, but when I was little, my mom tells me, that since there were two Roberts around, so such a little guy, look, we weren’t going to also call you Robert, because that was confusing, and in El Paso, if you’re not Robert, you’re Beto, if you’re not Albert, you’re Beto, if you’re not Umberto, you’re Beto. Beto is as common in El Paso as Bob might be in Dallas. There’s Beto’s Tacos. Wood Floors by Beto. Beto, your mailman. Beto, your congressman.

But, back to Hamill’s give-and-take with Cruz on whether O’Rourke is Beto-worthy”

HAMILL:  Yeah, but you’re bicultural, aren’t you? So you can technically go either way, but it’s absolutely absurd  for a white man to use the nickname Beto.

Cruz: Well he’s entitled to call himself anything he wants but I will say that  we had poll just this week a Quinnipiac Poll, and I don’t put a lot of stock in good polls or bad polls,  but the thing that was interesting, this poll showed me beating congressman O’Rourke among Hispanic voters in Texas. I think the reason is our values are commonsense conservative values.

 

CRUZ:  If  you look at what Hispanics want – we want jobs, we want opportunities. What resonates in our community is faith, family, patriotism, hard work, the American dream. Those are the values of Texas Republicans and those  are the values of most Hispanics voters in Texas.

HAMILL: He’s promoting illegal immigration, people that are in this country illegally, 

Immigrants from Mexico, from everywhere else, they want the border wall, they want border security.

I saw signs downstairs (of the protesters outside the window) that said “No borders,” “Love,” all these things … they said, “Defund ICE, CBP.”

It’s an outrage.”

 

CRUZ: Usually, in a general election in Texas a Democrat runs to the middle, at least pretends to.  Congressman O’Rourke isn’t doing that.

He is running hard left, just like Bernie Sanders. He is running on rising your taxes and  repealing the tax cuts.  He is running on more job-killing regulations. He is running on expanding Obamacare and socialized medicine.

You’re right. On immigration, he is running on defending sanctuary cities, not only opposing a wall, he says there are too many walls, too many fences, tear down what we have.

And he’s running also on aggressive gun control, and impeaching Donald Trump.

Now those are great campaign issues if he were running to be the senator from the state of Massachusetts People running Elizabeth Warren might have a problem with  Congressman O’Rourke attacking from her left flank.

But those aren’t the values in Texas  – low taxes, low regulation, more jobs,  border security. We want the rule of law respected … legal immigrants like my father when he came from Cuba in 1957 right here to Austin, he came with a student visa … It’s legal immigrants who find their jobs are lost and wages are driven down by illegal immigrants.

j

CRUZ: You know if you want to know what someone’s values are see what they stand for.

The State of the Union, every member of Congress gets to invite one guest. The last State of the Union, Congressman O’Rourke chose to invite an illegal immigrant. That’s what he wants to highlight – that he’s fighting for illegal immigrants.

On the other hand, at the State of the Union, I joined with Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, and the two of us together invited  Stephen and Pamela Willeford.

Stephen was the hero of Sutherland Springs who risked his life saving people and you know I think  between Congressman O’Rourke’s invitation and mine we illustrated  who it is we are fighting for every day.  He chose,  his number one priority according  to the State of the Union is illegal immigrants. My number one priority is standing up and fighting for Texas and defending our Constitution.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Official blog of the US Representative for El Paso, TX
Jan 29

My Guest For Tomorrow’s State of the Union

Meet Daisy Arvizu, my guest to this year’s State of the Union Address. I first met Daisy in 2016 at a Dreamers town hall we held in El Paso that brought together Dreamers in our community and those who support them.

Daisy was brought to this country at the tender age of one year and eight months. She grew up in our community; she works two jobs; she’s a student at the El Paso Community College; and she’s hoping to continue on to UTEP. In every way that’s meaningful, Daisy is every bit as American as my three kids. We need to do right by Daisy and the 800,000 Dreamers in Texas and across the country who are contributing so much to our communities — making us stronger and safer and more successful every day.

I’m grateful that Daisy is able to join me for the State of the Union, and I’m going to keep doing everything I can to ensure that she and Dreamers across the country can continue contributing their full potential to the only country they’ve ever known — as citizens.
 

Daisy Arvizu after the State of the Union

On Saturday night, in addition to panels that included George P. Bush Gov. Greg Abbott Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, there was also a panel of young Republican members Congress, the oldest of whom, at 40, was Rep. Will Hurd, who is seeking a third term in the swing 23rd Congressional District, that stretches from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso.

The next morning, Hurd was interviewed by Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation.

BRENNAN: We turn now to Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. He sits on Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees. And he joins us live from San Antonio.

Congressman, good morning to you.

I want to quickly ask you this “New York Times”-obtained letter from the president’s attorneys laying out their arguments, saying, he as president has complete control over federal investigations, cannot be compelled to testify, and could not have obstructed the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sitting on House Intelligence, as do you, what do you make of this argument?

REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: Well, this is going to be something that is going to be sorted out through the judicial system.

And I’m not a lawyer. But one of the things I have learned is, if you are innocent, act like you’re innocent. And Bob Mueller should be allowed to continue his investigation and turn over any stone and pursue any lead.

BRENNAN: Should the president be compelled to testify to Bob Mueller, the special counsel?

HURD: Again, I think this is going to be a judicial issue that — to figure out what is, what can he be compelled to do?

Again, if you don’t have anything to hide, why wouldn’t you testify? Because I think that would help get — close this investigation quicker, which I think that is something this administration wants to see.

But one of the things that I’m focused on is on issues that is firmly in the responsibility of Congress. And that’s trade, that’s immigration, and these are big issues that are going to be coming to the forefront over the next few days and weeks.

BRENNAN: And I do want to ask you about trade, but just to button this up, the president’s attorney said this morning the president probably has the power to pardon himself, though doing so would be unthinkable.

What would happen in the House if the president tried to do that? What would the political ramification be?

HURD: Look, I think that would be a terrible move. I think people would erupt.

I think even thinking about trying to fire Mueller is a bad move politically. So, I hope we don’t have to get to that point. And it’s hard to predict what would happen. But that would — that would be — that would create outrage on both sides of the political aisle.

BRENNAN: But let’s get to that issue of trade you brought up there.

Would there be support in the House, where you sit, for legislation that would require the president to get congressional approval before putting on tariffs? There’s talk in the Senate about doing it. Would you support something in the House?

HURD: Absolutely.

The Congress has shared our responsibility when it comes to trade with the executive branch over the last couple of decades. And I think that is something that we need to reevaluate. One of the things that — as you know, Margaret, I spent nine-and-a-half years as an undercover officer in the CIA.

I was the dude in the back alleys at 4:00 in the morning. One of the things I learned is, be nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys. Make sure your allies know you have their back.

BRENNAN: So, Canada, Mexico and European Union are not national security threats, from your point of view, which is the authority the president used here?

HURD: No, they’re not. No, we are lucky to have Canada and Mexico as our neighbors.

Imagine what some of our other allies have to deal with. A sound foreign policy, sound trade policy does not mean penalizing your allies while you’re rescuing a Chinese company that firmly and clearly violated U.S. sanctions. And I’m speaking about ZTE.

So, let’s address the real problem. China is dumping steel on the world markets. Let’s address that. China is stealing intellectual property. Let’s address that. Let’s not help one Chinese company continue to sell their widgets all around the world, while we’re going to ultimately impact the American consumer.

Why should my fellow Americans compare about this? Here in South Texas, it’s hot. And if you like a drink, a cold beer on a hot day, it’s going to be more expensive. If you have got to fill up your car with gasoline, it’s going to be more expensive.

If you have to buy clothes, it’s going to be more expensive. If you buy food in a grocery store, it’s going to be more expensive. And so this makes absolutely no sense. And to say that this is going to create jobs in the United States of America, we are celebrating 3.8 percent unemployment.

That is the best it’s ever been in almost half-a-century. So where — what jobs is this going to be bringing back? It’s only going to impact jobs. And so that’s why most of us, a lot of us in Congress thinks this is not the way you handle trade, this is not the way you deal with your allies.

BRENNAN: On the issue of immigration, the majority of Americans polled seem to support some kind of protection for dreamers, so-called DACA recipients.

But your bosses in Congress have tried to block a vote on this. Do you have a surefire way to force a vote in the House and get a bill to the president’s desk?

HURD: Margaret, let me correct you for a second. They’re not my bosses. My bosses are the 800,000 people that I represent in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas.

And that’s why I’m working on this issue with friends like Jeff Denham from California, Carlos Curbelo from Florida, Elise Stefanik from New York, in order to force this vote.

This is this discharge petition, where it’s saying, hey, we’re going to bring multiple bills to the floor on immigration and have that vote. I hope teachers are still teaching in school that having a public conversation and discourse is still important to keeping democracy alive and thriving in the United States of America. And that’s what we’re trying to push.

BRENNAN: Well, Speaker Ryan — Speaker Ryan and his whip and everyone with him are trying to block this vote from happening.

Do you have the votes to force this to the floor?

HURD: We do. And we’re adding votes every single day.

We’re engaged in conversations to figure out, is there another path? I don’t believe that there is. And the time has come. It’s 2018. We don’t have operational control of our border. We have a million-plus young men and women who have only known the United States of America as their home that are in this uncertainty period. They don’t know about their future.

Now is the time to solve this problem and do it once and for all.

And guess what?

BRENNAN: You expect that vote this month?

HURD: Yes, this month of June.

BRENNAN: All right, Congressman, thank you very much.

HURD: Always a pleasure.

Hurd, 40, Curbelo, 38, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsoin, is 34, and Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in 2014, is 33, were all on a panel together moderated by Hamill. (Cruz is 46, and O’Rourke is 45.)

Here is something about the members of the panel.

Stefanik Selected as Co-Chair of Republican Tuesday Group

January 11, 2017

Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) has been selected as Co-Chair of the House Republican Tuesday Group, a policy caucus within the House Republican Conference.

“I am honored to be selected by my Tuesday Group colleagues for this important opportunity,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “The Tuesday Group is comprised of Members who are willing to work across the aisle to advance policy solutions for their constituents, and I look forward to working on critical issues facing our nation in this important role.”

“Representative Stefanik is an outstandingly talented and dedicated member of the Republican Conference,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA-15), Co-Chair of the Tuesday Group. “As a millennial, Elise brings a fresh perspective to a number of issues. The Tuesday Group is fortunate to have her in a leadership role as one of our co-chairs.”

And Carlos Curbelo.

A Miami Republican makes enemies in Washington
By Alex Daugherty
November 26, 2017
WASHINGTON Carlos Curbelo is picking fights.

He attacked the NRA for opposing his bill to ban a firearm accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire like automatics. He attacked the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, currently made up of all Democrats, for denying his membership application.

And he is attacking the Trump administration and fellow Republicans who oppose efforts to combat climate change.

These spats give the second-term Republican congressman from Miami ground to criticize both sides of the political spectrum for unyielding partisanship, and they allow Curbelo to deliver a message to his constituents and voters that the right and the left are both responsible for Washington’s dysfunction

 

According to Bipartisan Index ranking of bipartisanship in the last Congress, Curbelo ranked 11, Stefanik, 31, O’Rourke, 77,  and Hurd 112.

In 2017, Curbelo ranked 4, Stefanik, 27, Hurd, 49, and O’Rourke, 93.

In the Senate, Cruz ranked 85, and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, was 30. Bernie Sanders was last. In the last Congress, Cruz was next to last, ahead only of Sanders.

Oh, and there’s this, a press release from Curbelo’s office.

South Florida DACA Recipient To Join Curbelo at State of the Union

Washington, D.C., January 26, 2018 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | 0comments
On Tuesday, South Florida DACA recipient Adrian Escarate will join Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) at the State of the Union.

“I’m honored to have Adrian be my guest for the State of the Union,” Curbelo said. “One of my chief legislative priorities this Congress and the last has been to forge a compromise on immigration that delivers a fair, permanent solution for young immigrants like him. I was encouraged by the immigration outline the White House released yesterday, and look forward to working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle next week to make sure Congress fully recognizes America’s Children – young men and women like Adrian who are contributing greatly to our country.”

Escarate was born in Santiago, Chile and was brought to the United States when he was 3 years old. Initially, his parents had only intended to live in Miami for five years, but after assimiliating, South Florida became their permanent home. Growing up, Adrian played competitive tennis while also achieving great academic accolades during his primary schooling. Adrian was also able to attend the University of North Florida and St. Thomas University as a student-athlete by playing on the men’s tennis team at both universities. Although undocumented, he was able to attend school with private scholarships and graduated Cum Laude from St. Thomas University in 2011 with a Degree in Communications Arts and a minor in Psychology. It was a great accomplishment, but unfortunately he could not exercise his degree because of his undocumented status. When Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) went into effect, Adrian was able to acquire a work permit, social security number, and a Florida Driver’s License.

Curbelo first met Escarate when he was advocating for a DACA solution in Washington. Since then, they’ve met on several occasions in Washington and in South Florida.

Curbelo and Escarate are available for interviews together from Washington, D.C. Tuesday and Wednesday.

BACKGROUND

One of the key players in congressional negotiations on immigration, Curbelo has consistently made Dreamers a priority. Curbelo introduced the bipartisan Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, which would provide three paths to legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, last year and in the 114th Congress. The RAC Act was the first permanent legislative solution for the DACA population introduced in this Congress and the only one introduced in the 114th Congress.

According to a Niskanen Center report,  passage of the RAC Act would increase gross domestic product (GDP) by $79 billion over ten years and create 115,000 new jobs. 

Curbelo has stated he would support any legislation that offers a permanent solution for the DACA population.

And, finally, Mike Gallagher.

How to make it as a maverick from Trump country
By Katie Glueck at McClatchy:

April 01, 2018 

He had barely been in Congress four months, but already, Mike Gallagher was being discussed as presidential ticket material.

“The Republican ticket in 2020 will be: Trump-Pence, Pence-Haley, Kasich-Martinez, Sasse-Gallagher,” read a Twitter poll posted by prominent conservative Bill Kristol one morning last May.

It was a lighthearted survey and the Gallagher option, paired with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, came in last. But it was an early sign that the freshman congressman was on the radar of high-profile Beltway Republicans.

 Nearly one year later, Gallagher, of Wisconsin, has cemented his image as a rising star — one with an unusually independent reputation in today’s Republican Party.

In an era of intense political tribalism, Gallagher is the rare House member from a strongly pro-Trump district who has broken sharply with the White House over a range of issues, including the firing of ex-FBI Director James Comey and the Russia-related investigations.

Even more rare: he has done it—so far—without sparking crippling conservative backlash.

“All Americans should want the president to be successful, right? If he’s successful, the country’s successful,” Gallagher told McClatchy in an interview in his Capitol Hill office last month.

But, he said, “It’s not my job to just salute everything the White House does.”

“He’s done a very, very good job of navigating the Trump rapids,” said Kristol, the editor at large of the Weekly Standard and a Trump critic. “Of not picking unnecessary fights with Trump and Trump supporters, but not in any way bending over backwards, as so many other Republicans have, to give up principles or…be obsequious to Trump.”

Gallagher, 34, is a Princeton- and Georgetown-educated Marine veteran with a Ph.D., and an acolyte of former Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. He delights in policy wonkery, which offers some cover when he breaks with Trump: party leaders, referencing his resume, suggest that Gallagher has earned “the right to his own opinion.”

His Marine discipline shapes his personal life, too: Gallagher, one of Congress’s youngest members, sleeps in his office, works long hours and has health nut tendencies.

“Let’s get some vegetables and some protein!” he said one recent morning, unsatisfied with the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “heavily salted almond” offerings. “Let’s also install pull-up bars…if you have to endure the pain of raising money, at least you can knock out a set of pull-ups in frustration.”

Republican donors and operatives see the freshman workaholic as the next sterling-credentialed member with a maverick streak who could shape the future of their deeply divided party—if he can outlast the turbulence and tribalism of the moment.

xxxx

Gallagher presents as breezy and self-deprecating. But he is, clearly, intensely driven.

Rep. Seth Moulton, another Ivy League-educated Marine veteran who has traveled with Gallagher, called him “witty, fun, engaging,” but also “very intellectual, likes to read a lot, he tends to go to bed early, sometimes you have to work a little to get him to stay out.”

Like Gallagher, Moulton—a Democrat—is often mentioned as a future leader of his party.

“My deep hope is people like Seth and Mike…become the next generation of John Kerry and John McCain,” said McKnight, Gallagher’s friend from Iraq who also knows Moulton. “Does that mean he stays in the House for forever, becomes a senator, goes into the administration? Those people I referred to initially did all of those things.”

They also both ran for president.

“Everyone’s looking to see who the young rising stars of the party are and whether they will stick through the current turmoil and, if they do, whether they will survive and be successful,” said Jamil Jaffer, former chief counsel on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he became friends with Gallagher.

“The answer,” he said, “is absolutely yes.”

The Mavericks Conference panel were not Hamill’s usual Daily Caller interviewees.

But she gamely sought to draw them into her worldview.

HAMILL: As a young Republican I see everything were surrounded by. We’ve got the legacy fake news media  attacking us 24/7, and then not only do we have that but we have liberal Hollywood just shoving propaganda down our throats in their movies and their late-night comedy, and our education system which has basically turned into a liberal indoctrination center.

She then segued into a truly weird person-in-the-street interview she had just done in Washington, D.C.

Now, none of this would have thrown Ted Cruz off his game. He would have offered Hamill something on the order of what she was looking for.

But the Hurd Herd simply stared at Hamill, and, then, one by one, offered what amounted to a rejoinder.

Stefanik: So, I think one of our biggest generational challenges is people are unwilling to hear or listen to people they don’t agree with. I think that is going to be a challenge for policy-makers in this country and the media exacerbates that. You don’t hear stories about bipartisan victories when the media covers what Congress is doing. The reality is 80 percent of our bills are actually bipartisan. You don’t hear about those significant legislative victories. I think the onus is on individuals to really stand up and be strong messengers about collaborative policymaking.

Curbelo: One of our flaws as a movement, as a party, as Republicans, is that we have forfeited on many issues over the decades – an agenda that helps people rise out of poverty, whether it means the environment, immigration, something that we’re trying to change now by actually having a  debate in the Congress, and be able to engage on all these issues and show a younger generation of Americans who have real concerns that we have solutions or at least are willing to listen to them and consider some of their ideas and solutions. So I would stay, stop forfeiting on ideas, engage on every issue. We have an agenda that is loyal to the founding principles of this party but also can respond to the concerns and the fears and the anxieties that a lot of people feel about the future with the new economy, with issues like sea level rise in the 26th Congressional District where everyone lives near the sea or at sea level.

HURD: If the Republican Party in Texas does not look like Texas, there will be not be a Republican Party in Texas. So we have to engage in places where most Republicans have never been. And I consider myself the vanguard of this because I’m in communities, they’ve never seen a Republican before.

GALLAGHER: At the risk of being a buzz kill, I do think we need to look at our own house. I understand that the tactics and the disinformation of the left can be frustrating at times, but they certainly don’t have a monopoly on it. I was at a Lincoln Day Dinner recently, and this has happened a thousand times and I am the least experienced member of this panel.  A lady came up to me and said, “Congressman Gallagher, you need to do something for me. There are Democrats who won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. They’re sitting down and their protesting and they’re disrespecting our country.”

And I’m like, “I’ve never seen that,” and she said, “I’ve got proof,” and she pulled out a whole email thread chain and there’s pictures of people that look like legislators and they have names and they were sitting down and they were at desks, though, and in the House of Representatives, we don’t have desks.

“This is not the House of Representatives, we don’t have desks. Maybe it’s the Senate.”

“Oh, it’s the Senate. I think it’s the Senate. It’s the Senate.”

And I look at the names and I go, “Ma’am, I don’t know all the names of all the members of the Senate off the top of my head, but these are not the names of any U.S. Senators.”

“This could be some weird other country where they’re sitting down, but it’s not the United States of America.”

And I left there thinking just how much of this misinformation is out there, you know. And social media has made it worse. 

And I tend to think most people value honesty, and they don’t expect you to agree with them on everything, but if they just have some sense you are being honest with them and real with them, they’re willing to put up with a lot. So I just do think there’s an element of this where we can’t allow the same thing in our own party.

HURD: We all know not to get in a car with a stranger – asterisk, an Uber or Lyft driver – so why are we sharing things from people we don’t know who they are or where that information from?

As a professional intelligence officer, it really drives me crazy.

After the conference, I talked with Gallagher and with MAVPAC co-chair Fritz Brogan, who worked for Florida Gov. Jeb bush as a young man, worked in the George W. Bush White House (with Stefanik), interviewed George P. Bush at the conference Saturday night, and is now restaurateur in Washington D.C.

(Maverick PAC national co-chair Fritz Brogan and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, at ACL Saturday night.)

I told Gallagher that I thought it admirable that he had straightened that woman out at the Lincoln Day Dinner and that he retold the story at the conference.

“It kind of reminded when McCain was running,” said Brogan, recalling that famous moment in the 2008 presidential campaign when John McCain corrected a woman at one of his rallies who said she didn’t trust Obama because he was an “Arab.”

Gallagher: There’s not common field of intellectual combat where we can keep track. What does the evidence say? What are the facts?

But, for many Republicans in our Year of Trump 2018, McCain is nothing but a throwback, a memory, and not a good one.

Cruz’s views on immigration and Dreamers are a lot harder line than those of George W. Bush or Rick Perry were.

Returning home from MAVPAC, Friday night I turned on Bill Maher who was describing the Republican Party as the conspiracy-minded, conspiracy-guided party not just of Donald Trump but Alex Jones.

And the newly-pardoned Dineh D’Souza.