On Monday, the last day of Texas’s legislative session, some state lawmakers engaged in what seemingly the entire media has tacitly agreed to call a “scuffle,” which I guess is the word for grown men exhibiting their prejudices and shooting off death threats at one another, allegedly.
It all started when one legislator in particular, Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi, lost his shit over hundreds of protesters at the state Capitol chanting and brandishing signs in opposition to Senate Bill 4, which Gov. Greg Abbott ratified earlier this month. The law, which goes into effect September 1, imposes a statewide ban on sanctuary cities—jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with national immigration enforcement law. Under the new law, local governments can be fined up to $25,500 a day for policies that block immigration enforcement. Sheriffs and cops who don’t comply with requests to detain immigrants will face misdemeanor charges punishable with fines and up to a year in jail, according to the Washington Post. It’s a terrible law.
The demonstrators were eventually led out of the chamber peacefully, with no arrests reported, but once the law men were left alone to their own devices, all hell broke loose.
First, Rinaldi began informing his colleagues that he’d called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the protesters. Democratic Texas Rep. Philip Cortez told the Washington Post, “We were just on the floor talking about the SB4 protests, and [state Rep.] Matt Rinaldi came up to us and made it a point to say, ‘I called (ICE) on all of them.’ And this is completely unacceptable. We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.”
Several Democratic lawmakers also accused Rinaldi of threatening to “put a bullet in the head” of Democratic Rep. Poncho Navárez, after making the call to ICE.
Rinaldi retaliated by claiming in a statement that Navárez had in fact threatened his life and physically assaulted him after the Republican lawmaker called ICE on the protesters. Rinaldi said he would only have shot his Democratic college “in self defense,” if he’d carried out his alleged threat of assaulting him on the way to his car.
Then Navárez released his own statement in which he called Rinaldi a liar and blessed him.
Regarding today, best to call it a draw. (Except we all know the protesters won, God bless.)