First Texas fleebagger arrested, two others flew to Portugal for vacations

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Texas State Rep. Ron Reynolds has the distinction of being the first of the Texas fleebaggers to be arrested in Washington, D.C. He was arrested yesterday along with U.S. Rep. Al Green from Houston. They were so desperate for attention that they were singing and blocking traffic in the middle of a street. Though warned three times by Capitol Police, they refused to move and were arrested.

Reynolds represents Missouri City, Texas, a city in the Houston metroplex. The two Houston area Democrats were participating in a rally organized by the National Clergy United for Justice. Old school race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton also participated. Luci Baines Johnson (daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson), several pastors, and the NAACP joined the rally, too. Green says the group of protesters was praying in front of the Supreme Court before moving into the street.

Texas state lawmakers, all Democrats, fled Austin during the special session to break quorum. They have been holed up in hotels in D.C. ever since, playing useful idiots for national Democrats. Their time has been little more than a summer vacation, playing tourist at historic landmarks and meeting with whichever lawmaker on Capitol Hill will sit down with them, which haven’t been very many. Mostly they post on social media and pretend to be heroes fighting for voting rights – voting rights all Texans who are legally registered to vote already have. But, never mind that, there are exaggerated grievances to be made and news media reporters willing to go along with the game. The political drama is real, y’all.

In order to garner attention as the public’s attention wanes, some U.S. representatives have marched and protested to raise awareness that the Texas state lawmakers are still there. Rep. Joyce Beatty, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested by Capitol Police for blocking an entrance to the Hart Senate Office Building, decked out in a white t-shirt that read, “Protect voting rights.” Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee did the same last week and she, too, was arrested. One of the leaders of the group of Texas state Democrats testified before a Congressional committee last week and was roundly humiliated by her lack of knowledge about the cause for which she is allegedly fighting for in D.C.

According to Green’s office, the lawmakers were arrested on charges of “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding.”

Reynolds, of Missouri City, is the first Texas House Democrat arrested during the group’s decampment to Washington, D.C., to block a state voting restrictions bill. The state lawmakers have been out of Texas for more than three weeks. They’ve spent that time lobbying their federal counterparts to pass voting rights legislation like the For the People Act, which they believe could preempt the proposed voting restrictions back home.

“The state has a long history of voter suppression, and the latest iteration of it involves denying people the right to vote in hours that are convenient to them — when they’re getting off of work,” Green said in reference to one aspect of the GOP-backed voter restrictions, which looks to ban 24-hour voting in the state.

Reynolds said in an interview that he remains confident in his party’s efforts to stall the bills because the special session ends this week.

“I think that our position is strong. We’re essentially a few days away from killing all [Gov. Greg] Abbott’s items that he put on call for the special session,” he said.

It’s true that if the special session in Austin goes the full 30 days it is allowed to go, it will end on Friday. However, there will be no victory for the fleebaggers other than postponing the inevitable. The truth is that the Texas State Legislature is led by a Republican majority. They have the votes to pass the election integrity legislation once a quorum is re-established. Governor Abbott has already said he will continue to call special sessions until the job is done. The next special session will include the legislation from the current special session.

Nonetheless, they persist. Or, do they? Two Texas state lawmakers flew out of Washington yesterday to Portugal for vacations. All that vacation activity in D.C. seems to have brought about the necessity of another summer vacation before the next special session begins in Austin. It’s exhausting being a hero these days. State Reps. Jessica Gonzalez and Julie Johnson left the others in D.C. but are not willing to own up to it. Imagine that – too cowardly to remain in Austin to do their jobs and too cowardly to admit that summer trips abroad were more important to them than remaining in D.C. with the rest of their colleagues.

Reports began circulating early Tuesday that the two representatives had left their colleagues and jetted off to Europe — possibly Portugal — during the last week of the special session in Austin. Both González and Johnson were among the more than 50 House Democrats who fled to the nation’s capital last month to deny a quorum in the Texas House and stall a GOP elections bill.

“I don’t respond to rumors,” González, of Dallas, said in a text Tuesday evening.

Texas Monthly had reported just minutes earlier that González and her fiancé, as well as Johnson and her wife, set off for Portugal on a non-refundable vacation that had been planned for a year and a half. When pressed on the issue, González replied: “No one has shown proof. These are rumors, period. End of story.”

A representative for Johnson, of Farmers Branch, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the House Democratic Caucus would not confirm the reports.

You can’t make this stuff up. “No one has shown proof.” That’s a great defense, right? The campaign ads write themselves. Republicans pounced, as the expression goes.

While GOP lawmakers are still in Austin working, González and Johnson “are off on private jets and luxury European vacations,” tweeted Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco. “How disgusting is this? Come home and get to work!”

It’s going to get awkward if vacation photos from Portugal start appearing on social media.