A firestorm erupted recently after Rep Joaquin Castro(D-TX) shared on his tweeter feed the names of prominent Trump donors who come from his home city of San Antonio, Texas. Republicans swiftly fired back at Rep Castro, accusing him of among other things, endangering the lives of the said Trump donors given the fact that emotions in Texas are still raw after the racist El Paso shooting. Sen John Cornyn(R-TX) led the assault on Rep Castro lashing out with this angry tweet.
This is grossly inappropriate, especially in the wake of recent tragic shootings. This win-at-all-costs mentality, publicly targeting an opponent’s supporters, and encouraging retaliation is dangerous and not what Texans have a right to expect from their members of Congress. https://t.co/Ecw4mszp4Y— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) August 6, 2019
Naturally, Rep Castro’s move left Yours Truly wondering. “Hmm–I wonder who are Trump’s biggest donors from the Houston, Texas area”. A simple google search led Yours Truly to this October 9, 2018 Houston Business Journal piece aptly titled, “See which Houstonians have donated the most to Trump’s 2020 campaign.” The Houston Business Journal piece has a slide listing some 25 prominent Houstonians, their business ties, and the dollar amounts they have contributed towards Trump’s 2020 campaign–excellent work.
It would be an exercise in redundancy to go through all the names listed in the slide and Yours Truly will certainly not do that. However there are some very prominent Houston personalities that deserve a separate mention chief among them, Jeffery and Melinda Hildebrand of Hillcorp Energy Company. Businessman Farouk Shami, a Palestinian-American and a staple in Houston’s hair products industry also caught Yours Truly’s attention. James Brookshire of S & B, one of the largest construction companies in the world is also on the list. As the article correctly points out, Ivanka Trump visited S & B’s offices in Baytown, Texas in September 2018 as part of her initiative to promote industrial craft training (a testament to S & B’s clout in the construction industry). Last but not least, Jim Flores, a big name in Houston’s oil and gas industry also caught Yours Truly’s attention.
It is fair to assume that because Rep Castro was severely criticized for sharing the names of Trump’s San Antonio donors, Yours Truly will also face similar criticism. For the record Yours Truly totally agrees with the reasoning given by Team Castro when defending their actions. Team Castro correctly pointed out that this is already public information that can be easily accessed on the FEC website so nobody is being “outed”. Yours Truly is further insulated from attacks by the fact that he is simply referencing a Houston Business Journal article that has been out there since 2018. If nobody raised an “outing” issue with the Houston Business Journal piece, then nobody should raise similar issues with this blog post.
Aside from the fact that this is already public information and therefore no donor is being “outed”, reasonable people will also agree that the Trump Presidency has led to the rise of hate groups–especially White Supremacy groups. Some of these groups have openly expressed support for Trump. Reasonable people will also agree that Trump has not done nearly enough to totally disavow the kind of politics that divides Americans along racial lines. As a matter of fact several paid TV pundits have come out and openly accused him of running a presidential campaign based on racism. It is therefore very important for people, certainly Houstonians, to know who is funding his campaign. Whether the people funding his campaign endorse the attendant racism is a different question altogether. The point is, it is in the public’s interest that people know who is funding him.
Bottom line as we approach 2020 the public needs to know where this President stands in regards to these hate groups. Unless and until he comes out and forcefully condemns these hate groups both in his deeds and his words, then the list of prominent Houstonians who continue to send him large donations will remain a topic of great interest and they will quite frankly be viewed by many as sponsors of hate.
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