Following an argument over the state’s sanctuary city law during a Memorial Day closing session, two Texas lawmakers had an argument that reportedly ended in threats of violence.
The quarrel started when illegal immigration supporters cheered on by Democratic lawmakers like Representative Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) showed up to protest with signs announcing things like “I am illegal and here to stay.”
The protestors were eventually removed by Texas State Troopers after becoming disruptive.
Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), irritated because he believed Democrats were encouraging the protestors to disobey law enforcement, reportedly told his Democratic colleagues that he’d placed a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Rinaldi claims that his announcement upset the Democrat lawmakers, who then confronted him.
That’s where things get a little more confusing. In a classic game of his word against his, both Nevarez and Rinaldi claim his life was threatened by the other.
The state’s Star Telegram reported:
But even after the protest ended, tensions remained high. Rep. Ramon Romero, a Democrat from Fort Worth, said he was standing with fellow Democratic Rep. Cesar Blanco of El Paso when Republican colleague Matt Rinaldi came over and said: “This is BS. That’s why I called ICE.”
Rinaldi, of Irving in suburban Dallas, and Blanco then began shouting at each other. A scuffle nearly ensued before other lawmakers separated the two.
Later, a group of Democratic lawmakers held a press conference to accuse Rinaldi of threatening to “put a bullet in the head” of someone on the House floor during a second near scuffle. They said the comment was made in the direction of Democratic Rep. Poncho Nevarez, from the border town of Eagle Pass.
Rinaldi, meanwhile, said in a statement:
Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said “I am illegal and here to stay.” Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues. During that time Poncho told me that he would “get me on the way to my car.” He later approached me and reiterated that “I had to leave at 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. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.
We aren’t likely to get to the bottom of the who did what any time soon. But this is yet another reminder that the folks we send to statehouses and Capitol Hill to represent us in matters of great importance are increasingly likely to act in ways most civil Americans wouldn’t.
Perhaps it’s a sign of a society in decline.
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