Texas Democrats who fled their state earlier this week to deny a legislative quorum as Republicans sought to pass a new voter integrity bill were mocked again on social media after one of them posted a photo of her clothes drying in what looks like a hotel bathroom.
Republicans and others who have been critical of Lone Star State Dems viewed the post and photo as little more than another tone-deaf, self-aggrandizing attempt to portray their effort as a noble personal sacrifice after taking chartered planes to Washington, D.C., where they have been since fleeing their state on Monday.
“You bet we’re recognizing & honoring our country’s heritage. As most Texans, tho [sp], this is what we’re doing tonight—using whatever is accessible, uwashing [sic] our clothes in the sink,” Rep. Donna Howard wrote in her post with a picture showing clothes draped over a shower curtain rod.
You bet we’re recognizing & honoring our country’s heritage. As most Texans, tho, this is what we’re doing tonight—using whatever is accessible, uwashing our clothes in the sink. #txlege https://t.co/HC8uDSnWk5 pic.twitter.com/DoaatSCqmj
— Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) July 16, 2021
Supporters, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the latter of whom met with the Texas Democrat delegation after they arrived in D.C., see what they’re doing as an attempt to defend democracy, while critics view what they’re doing as little more than a political stunt that hasn’t involved much in the way of actual sacrifice, and all at someone else’s expense.
“What a fun sightseeing trip for you guys,” wrote GOP communications specialist Matt Whitlock in response.
“This is a super strange tweet — but as you know, you wouldn’t have to do this if you were at home in Texas doing your job. Instead of being here to do tourist things and gaslight about election bills not actually accomplishing anything,” he added in a subsequent tweet.
“We have washing machines here. You flew here on a chartered private plane. You can figure it out I’m sure,” wrote Bethany Mandel, a contributing writer for Deseret News.
“Like most Texans, if I left my job when I was supposed to be there I would get fired. But…..you feel you are ‘special’ and can go on vacation while Texans work and pay you. Get back to Texas and do the job we pay you to do,” another user noted.
Added another user, mockingly: “There are no laundromats or fluff and fold service in a large city like DC? So bizarre. See this one time my washing machine broke so I took my clothes to this big store with lots of washers and dryers and I put quarters and soap in and solved the problem.”
In terms of their personal sacrifices, it’s likely most are subsisting off Texas taxpayer money for the moment. Though the state legislature is a part-time gig paying members an annual stipend of $7,200, meaning most members have primary jobs in their state, they are paid $221 daily per diem every day the legislature is in session. Fox News reported Friday that a spokesperson for GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said earlier this week the Democrats were being paid that stipend.
The state Democrats fled Texas at the start of a special legislative session called by Abbott, who railed at the delegation for leaving and vowed to have them arrested, per state law, and brought back to the state capital in Austin to resume legislative business when they returned.
During an interview on Fox News earlier, he also lashed out at Biden, Harris, and congressional Democrats, as well as left-wing media figures, for falsely claiming the Texas voter integrity bill makes it harder for residents to vote. Rather, he has insisted, the bill makes it “harder to cheat.”
Abbott also ripped state Democrats for “hanging out on a taxpayer-paid junket,” though the delegation has said the trip is being paid for through private donations to the state Democratic Caucus. In addition, they are considering whether to decline their daily per diem payments.
“Our mission here, in Washington, is to use this time in this legislative session between now and Aug. 7 to say to the U.S. Senate that we need to pass federal voting rights legislation. And we need it now,” Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington, the leader of the Texas House Democrats, said this week. “And we’re going to get into some good trouble, as best we can, while we’re doing it.”
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) said he’s chartering a plane to have on stand-by in Washington to bring the Democratic delegation home.
“I am demanding all of our colleagues in D.C. to contact my staff immediately in order to secure their seat on the plane and return to Austin in order to do the state’s business,” Phelan said in a statement. “The State of Texas is waiting.”
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