On the last day of the Texas legislative session, hundreds of protesters swarmed the House chamber to oppose the state’s new sanctuary city law.
State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement while hundreds of people dressed in red T-shirts unfurled banners and chanted in opposition to the state’s new sanctuary cities law. His action enraged Hispanic legislators nearby, leading to a tussle in which each side accused the other of threats and violence.
Rep. Rinaldi posted a statement on social media. “Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues,” Rinaldi wrote. “He later approached me and reiterated that ‘I had to leave a some point, and he would get me.’ I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense.”
A statement regarding today. pic.twitter.com/M0BcBXa43P
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) May 29, 2017
I am not even going to try to fully unpack this. Texas legislative sessions are known for their drama. Remember Abortion Barbie and “Hail Satan?” Calling ICE on illegal alien protesters is, frankly, a jackass move when the legislature passed the law already, and the Gov. Greg Abbott, along with his Attorney General Ken Paxton are eager to enforce it.
The Democrats took the bait and went full Gianforte on Rinaldi, who is now “currently under DPS protection,” according to his statement.
Several Democrats paint the story much differently, that Rinaldi was screaming obscenities and generally in everyone’s faces.
“He came up to us and said, ‘I’m glad I just called ICE to have all these people deported,’” said state Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, whose account was echoed by state Reps. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth.
“He said, ‘I called ICE — f**k them,'” Romero added. Rinaldi also turned to the Democratic lawmakers and yelled, “F**k you,” to the “point where spit was hitting” their faces, Romero said.
It’s sad that legislators have come to this kind of drunken barroom behavior when there are real issues to solve and real people those issues affect. We’re pulling at the frayed threads of our own Republic.
Watch the fray below (courtesy of the Texas Tribune)