Thoughts, Prayers, and Care Packages: Two of the Texas Democrats Leave D.C. to Vacation in Portugal

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The Texas Democrats seem to have given up on their credibility a while back. Everyone knows their little escape from their special session in Texas to thwart a voting integrity bill wasn’t about standing against voter suppression or standing up for Black and brown people. It was so they could shirk their duties, rub shoulders with VP Kamala Harris (and expose her to COVID), and try and help the narrative that the country needs federal voting reform.

Yeah, that shipped sailed, as my intrepid colleagues have documented here, here, here, and here.

But this did not stop two of them—who are supposed to be in quarantine due to their positive COVID diagnosis—from taking an international excursion with their spouses.

TX Rep. Dan Crenshaw brings the snark:

From the Texas Tribune:

The Texas House Democratic Caucus could not account Tuesday for two of the members who broke quorum and fled for Washington, D.C. over Republicans’ priority elections bill, while a Texas Monthly reporter said the members were on vacation in Portugal.

State Reps. Julie Johnson of Farmers Branch and Jessica González of Dallas was not with other House Democrats on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, according to a person familiar with the situation. On Tuesday evening, Texas Monthly reporter Jonathan Tilove tweeted that he “can confirm [Johnson] and her wife & [González] and her fiancé are in Portugal for a vacation they had been planning, with non-refundable tickets, for a year-and-a-half.”

Because… sacrifice! Yeah.

This bunch is such a joke, they give the word new meaning. But hey, I guess if you’re going to sit around and do nothing, you might as well get a great tan in the process!

Both González and Johnson, along with their staff have been mum, neither denying nor acknowledging that their bosses have their toes in the sand.

In a text exchange though with the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday evening, González referred to the Portugal trip as “rumors” and said, “no one has shown proof.”

“These are rumors, period,” she said. “End of story.”

​Their absence from Washington does not affect the lack of quorum that the House has in Austin to pass the elections bill. But it is at odds with House Democrats’ insistence that they would use their time away from the state Legislature, which they left in July, to advocate for federal voting rights legislation in the nation’s capital.

González is an especially prominent player in the voting rights fight as the vice-chair of the Texas House Elections Committee. ​

A “prominent player”? I suspect her currency might just drop a bit after this stunt; blood in the water and all.

Dereliction of duty doesn’t begin to describe what these supposed lawmakers keep doing. Fighting for voting rights was never the focus, it was simply a convenient narrative. And the narrative is not going to get in the way of a vacation they had planned a year and a half ago! Can’t lose money on those non-refundable tickets; who cares if the taxpayer has lost money on not only their absconding to D.C. but the daily per diems they receive as legislators.

Their Republican colleagues are none too pleased, of course, and rightly condemning of this action:

The news of the Democrats’ vacation brought a wave of House condemnation from their Republican colleagues who have been stuck in Austin waiting for them to return.

“Wow, just wow. Had to cancel my family’s vacation last week to Grand Teton [National Park] because of a special session they helped create back in May,” tweeted state Rep. Tom Oliverson of Cypress, referring to the House Democratic walkout that killed the elections bill during the regular session. “Texas deserves better than this.”

Yet, the disconnect continues as Johnson’s and González’s cohorts, who are still in D.C., continue to try and milk their free press.

Hours before word got out that Johnson and González were missing from Washington, three of their Democratic colleagues held a news conference where they continued to express optimism about the federal elections push.

Just amazing. Texans should be lining up to run against all of them in the next election; after these stunts, they deserve to lose and lose spectacularly.