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Senators press Van de Putte

I have to say, it’s not been looking good for Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. Her Democratic colleagues don’t recall the “if you act like Mexicans, you will be treated like Mexicans” slur that she says she heard, she’s been unavailable to comment for the past two days, and now Republican Senators are demanding that she come clean, even if it means violating the usual tradition of confidentiality in the members’ lounge.

Skeptical GOP senators said Van de Putte should say who made the remark.

“I’ll challenge her right now to tell us who said that,” said Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. “If she cannot tell us who said that, then I will have to assume she’s not being truthful.”

Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, said: “We’ll waive confidentiality on this one.” Otherwise, “we need to entertain the possibility it wasn’t said.”

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, also calling for Van de Putte to name the senator, said: “I am a Republican senator along with 18 other Republican senators. So (she’s) put a cloud over all 19 of us.”

“There’s got to be some way she misunderstood or exaggerated,” Wentworth said.

I don’t see any other way out. This was a very serious charge, and it isn’t fair to let it hang like that. She needs to either name a name or back down and take her lumps. If she misheard, I think people will still understand. If she misspoke, that’s not good at all.

Her Democratic colleagues still believe her:

“All we can do is take our colleague’s word on these kind of things,” said Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin.

Sen. Mario Gallegos of Houston said he believed Van de Putte.

“There’s no misunderstanding about a quote like that,” Gallegos said. “For the lieutenant governor to say she misunderstood, is an insult to her.”

And Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville said: “Whoever said that, there should be sanctions and penalties.”

Ram Chavez, the state commander of the American GI Forum, a national Latino civil rights group, said Dewhurst should force an apology from the responsible senator.

“He is the leader of the Texas Senate,” Chavez said. “He should call in his state senators and talk to them.”

It’s up to you now, Sen. Van de Putte.

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