Texas GOP calls out its own congressman for his praise of lynching
But it doesn’t think Rep. Chip Roy should resign over it.
The Republican Party of Texas called out one of its own on Friday for pro-lynching comments made during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on violence against Asian Americans. But it rejected demands from Democrats that Rep. Chip Roy resign from Congress.
The committee’s ranking member, Roy said during the hearing on Thursday, “The victims of race-based violence and their families deserve justice” before immediately pivoting away from the subject, saying, “I would also suggest that the victims of cartels moving illegal aliens deserve justice. The American citizens in south Texas, they are getting absolutely decimated by what’s happening at the southern border deserve justice. The victims of rioting and looting in the street … last summer deserve justice.”
Roy then went on:
We believe in justice. There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe. My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.
Allen West, the pro-secession state GOP chair and former Florida congressman, said in a statement, “Congressman Chip Roy’s comments were inappropriate and unfortunate, no one should infer hanging as a metaphor.” He added, “My recommendation to Congressman Chip Roy would be to engage the brain before firing the mouth, it would avoid embarrassing situations such as this.”
But West dismissed suggestions that Roy should step down for the comments, writing, “While his comments about hanging were dumb, they’re not grounds for resignation.”
Roy also repeated the inflammatory statement that China’s government is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “the bad guys.”
After Democratic colleagues, including Rep. Grace Meng, the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress, called out Roy’s comments, the Texas Republican doubled down on them Thursday evening.
“Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. I meant it. We need more justice and less thought policing,” he told NBC News. “We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese Communists who seek to destroy us. No apologies.”
Others condemning Roy included Texas Democrats Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, who put out a statement on Thursday calling on Roy to resign immediately. “It is an outrage, and terrifying, to hear a Congressman claiming any connection between lynchings and justice,” he wrote. “Roy’s comments are painful and offensive to a country reeling from the horrifying anti-Asian attacks in Atlanta this week. Roy is perpetuating the racist systems that harm us and contributing to the terror people of color face every day in our country.”
Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also blasted Roy, telling CNN his comments were “shameful and disgusting and disgraceful.”
Roy responded to West’s criticism by complaining that he had not reached out to him personally. He told the Texas Tribune that his analogy had come from “a Willie Nelson lyric” and promised, “I will continue to ‘engage my brain’ to combat the leftist mob which demands that we police speech rather than focus on fighting evil-doers – be they murderers, cartels, or the dangerous Chinese Communist Party.”
“Beer for My Horses,” a 2003 song recorded by Nelson and Toby Keith, contains the line: “Take all the rope in Texas, find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys, hang them high in the street, for all the people to see.”
Roy is no stranger to making comments that draw immediate and strong criticism.
In January, he warned that if Democrats won runoff elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats, the nation would find itself in a “hot” civil war.
Last year, he smeared a 20-year-old survivor of the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, as “functionally illiterate” for his criticism of Donald Trump’s family separation policies, compared anti-racism protesters to the white former cop charged with murdering George Floyd, and likened coronavirus safety guidelines to “Nazi Germany.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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