How the Texas House Floor Came To Resemble WWE

Image by slgckgc, via Flickr Creative Commons License:

This was not the Turkish parliament

but the Texas legislature gave a damned good approximation of it.

This is the background (as I understand it). People protesting the Texas sanctuary cities bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month were in the gallery of the Texas House. State Representative Matt Rinaldi (Republican) saw that some of them were holding signs that said “I am an illegal immigrant and here to stay” or words to that effect.” Rinaldi called ICE. So far, so good.


Then he told a group of Democrat legislators that he’d called ICE. What could go wrong? A minor scuffle ensued:

“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,’ ” state Rep. Philip Cortez (D) said. “And this is completely unacceptable. We will not be intimidated. We will not be disrespected.”

This is a different angle of the same video

The Democrats held a press conference afterwards:

These are some choice quotes.

“He saw the crowd, and he saw illegals,” state Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. said. “He saw people that, whether he likes to accept it or not, in his heart, he has hate for those people, and he wants to see them gone. He wants to see them gone so much, to the point that he called ICE.”

At one point, some of the language between the two sides apparently turned violent.

“There was a threat made from Representative Rinaldi to put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads,” state Rep. Justin Rodriguez said during the news conference. “That kind of threatening language, he needs to be called out and held accountable for.”


This is how Rinaldi described what transpired:

On the whole, not a great day for anyone.


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