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Abbott Torched for Calling Mass Shooting Victims ‘Illegal’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is generating national criticism for referring to Friday’s mass shooting victims in Cleveland, Texas as “illegal immigrants.” Abbott made the comment in a statement ostensibly intended to offer “condolences” to the families of the victims, but which appeared to many as more of a backhanded insult. 

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the five victims that were taken in this senseless act of violence,” the statement read, but only after mentioning that the victims were “five illegal immigrants.”

To add insult to injury, the statement appears to be partially inaccurate, as an immigrant rights activist has said on Twitter that at least one victim was here legally and showed a picture of her legal identification.

“I just spoke to the husband of one of the victims,” said Carlos Eduardo Espina. “He confirmed to me that his wife was a permanent resident of the US. He even sent me a picture of her ID confirming this. But I guess to Greg Abbott, anyone who is from another country is an ‘ilegal immigrant’. Shameful.”

George Takei, the “Star Trek” actor who lived with his parents in internment camps during World War II, wrote on Twitter, “This is despicable. I would have thought bringing up the immigration status of the innocent victims of this senseless violence would be beneath even you. But I was wrong,” 

MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough ripped Abbott on his show.

“Maybe he’s part of this Christian nationalist movement, but what would Jesus do? You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know: not that. What a dreadful, shameful thing,” Scarborough said.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed in Florida’s Parkland high school mass shooting in 2018, tweeted a response to Abbott: “On behalf of those like my daughter who are victims of gun violence, F*** YOU!!!”

Abbott’s actions have also drawn negative attention from a Washington Post columnist and Insider.

Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson
Writer, editor, photographer and editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson has joined the Reform Austin newsroom, where he will employ the artistic skill and political insights that earned a Pulitzer Prize to drive coverage of Texas government. As managing editor, Anderson is responsible for guiding Reform Austin’s efforts to give readers the unfiltered facts they need to hold Texas leaders accountable. Anderson’s original cartoons will be a regular feature on RA News. “Reform Austin readers understand the consequences of electing politicians who use ideological agendas to divide us, when they should be doing the hard work necessary to make our state government work for everyone,” Anderson said. “As a veteran journalist, I’m excited about Reform Austin’s potential to re-focus conversations on the issues that matter to common-sense Texans – like protecting our neighborhoods from increasingly common disasters, healthcare, just to name a few.” Anderson worked for the Houston Chronicle, the largest newspaper in Texas, from 2006 until 2017. In addition to the Pulitzer, Anderson earned the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award. He’s also a two-time winner of Columbia College’s Fischetti Award, and the National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award. Anderson’s cartoons have been published in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and other papers. In 2005, Anderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning while working for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. The judges complimented his “unusual graphic style that produced extraordinarily thoughtful and powerful messages.”


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