President Donald Trump invited a wave of speculation Tuesday when he volunteered to “destroy” the career of a unnamed Texas state senator in response to a state sheriff’s complaint about the lawmaker.
Trump’s remark came during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House that included Rockwall County’s Harold Eavenson. When Trump asked the group for input on how to improve law enforcement, Eavenson spoke up.
“Asset forfeiture,” Eavenson replied. “We’ve got a state senator in Texas that’s talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we can receive that forfeiture money and I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.”
“Who’s the state senator?” Trump asked, getting no answer from a demurring Eavenson. “Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”
Hours after the exchange, it was still unclear to whom Eavenson, a Republican, was referring. He was not immediately available for comment.
The story notes that Sens. Konni Burton and Juan Hinojosa have both filed bills to do what Sheriff Eavenson is complaining about. It makes more sense for a Republican like Eavenson to whine about a Democratic Senator, but 1) I seriously doubt Chuy Hinojosa is the least bit intimidated, and 2) he’s in a safe-D district, and there’s not enough frothing Trumpies there to give him a primary challenge. That leaves fellow Republican Konni Burton, who’s in the Ted Cruz wing of the party and is generally an ally of Trump buddy Dan Patrick, not that any of that would help her. I have no idea to what extent Burton did or didn’t support Trump in the election, but she does disagree with him on trade, so if the seething hordes want to go after her, they’ve got an angle for it. Two angles now, I suppose.
One more thing, from Kevin Drum, who figures Burton is the target here:
My guess is that he has no idea what civil asset forfeiture is and has no real opinion about it. If, say, Trump had been in a meeting with a few senators, and Bob Goodlatte had remarked that “police can seize your money even if you weren’t convicted of a crime,” Trump probably would have reflexively answered, “Can you believe that?” Instead, a sheriff said it was a bad thing related to Mexicans, so Trump automatically agreed with him. That means it’s now official Trump administration policy.
Sad. But then again, Jeff Sessions is a huge fan of civil asset forfeiture and all the corrupt incentives it creates, so he probably would have gotten Trump on board one way or another. It’s yet another big win for the working class.
Indeed. Others who also landed on Burton and Hinojosa as the likely targets include Think Progress, Grits for Breakfast (who is a big supporter of the Burton bill), and Juanita. The Chron, Politico, Wonkblog, and The Hill have more.