WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s campaign and several top Republicans on Tuesday slammed Rep. Joaquin Castro, the twin brother and campaign chairman of 2020 presidential hopeful Julián Castro, after he posted a list of Texas Trump donors and their place of business.
Joaquin Castro on Monday evening criticized Trump donors from San Antonio, his hometown and the district he represents, who donated the maximum amount of $2,000 to Trump.
In his tweet, he included a screenshot of the names of 44 donors and their businesses. The list is public record and can be found online at the Federal Elections Commission website.
“Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders,'” he wrote in the tweet.
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The tweet came two days after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Authorities have linked the alleged shooter to a “manifesto” that had anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments. The suspect drove from Allen, Texas — more than 900 miles from El Paso, which is on the U.S.-Mexico border where nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic.
Many Democrats, including the presidential candidates like Julián Castro, have pointed to Trump’s own rhetoric against Latino communities and immigrants as an influence into the deadly attack. As of Monday, 22 people had died as a result of the shooting.
San Antonio is near the border and as of 2017, about 64% of the city’s population is Latino.
Less than 24 hours after the shooting in El Paso, another mass shooting happened in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine dead. Authorities have yet to identify a motive.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh called on Joaquin Castro to delete the tweet and apologize, and for his brother’s 2020 campaign to disavow the list.
“How low have Dems sunk?” he wrote in a tweet. “This is Joaquin Castro, Congressman & chair of his brother’s campaign. Naming private citizens & their employers, targeting them for their political views and exercising 1st Amendment rights.”
In a separate tweet, Murtaugh also claimed Castro’s tweet is a “target list.” Castro did not call on violence to the donors.
“At the very least @Castro4Congress is inviting harassment of these private citizens,” Murtaugh said in another tweet. “At worst, he’s encouraging violence. Will media concerned about “rhetoric” care about this? He’s listing people and their employers. This is a target list.”
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Castro has since responded to Murtaugh on Twitter, saying the image he shared doesn’t contain private or personal information and are records routinely printed in newspapers. Earlier this year, several news sites listed prominent celebrities and business moguls who donated to 2020 presidential candidates.
In a follow-up tweet, Castro continued to bash Trump’s rhetoric.
“[W]hat I said is true — your campaign has stoked fear of brown-skinned immigrants,” he said, adding that he believes the contributions have been used for over 2,000 Facebook ads from Trump’s campaign “declaring an invasion by Hispanics.”
“That is truly dangerous for millions,” he continued. “Will you commit not to run another ad like that?”
Trump during an address to the nation Monday following the shootings, condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
However, the president did not address his own language. During his campaign announcement in 2015, Trump labeled Mexican immigrants as “people that have lots of problems,” adding that they’re bringing “drugs” and “crimes,” and calling some “rapists.” Since then, Trump has repeatedly called the increased number of migrant immigrants, most of who are from Central America, an “invasion.”
Other top Republicans also criticized Castro’s tweet.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas accused Castro of “vilifying & doxxing” his constituents. Doxing is when someone publishes private information about a person on the internet in an effort to harm that person.
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“EVERYONE needs to tone the hateful partisan rhetoric way down,” Cruz wrote in a tweet. “This is WRONG & Castro should retract it. In our constitutional Republic, the People rightly hold their representatives accountable; elected representatives should not be vilifying & doxxing their own constituents.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also slammed Castro.
“Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous,” he said in a tweet. “What happened to ‘when they go low, we go high?’ Or does that no longer matter when your brother is polling at 1%? Americans deserve better.”
Hours after McCarthy’s tweet, Castro responded saying that the California Republican was “trying to distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP.”
“Donald Trump has put a target on the back of millions. And you’re too cowardly or agreeable to say anything about it,” the Texas congressman continued. “How about I stop mentioning Trump’s public campaign donors and he stops using their money for ads that fuel hate?”
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