Vol 33, Issue 20 Print Issue

Hillary Clinton Visits Texas, Rouses GOP Ire

Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at Texas Southern University in Houston, shortly after winning the Nevada caucus on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.
Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at Texas Southern University in Houston, shortly after winning the Nevada caucus on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner visited the state last Friday to attend a trio of fundraisers in Austin, Dallas and Houston. She was not expected to hold any public events, but Texas Republicans were working to make her trip known.

The state party was first out of the gate, tying Clinton to the recent vote in Austin that drove ride-hailing companies out of the city.

“It’s not surprising that Hillary Clinton chose to campaign with Mayor [Steve] Adler: two peas in a very unpopular and anti-Uber and Lyft pod," Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler said in a statement.

Gov. Greg Abbott was also getting in on the anti-Clinton action. His political shop solicited donations in an email to supporters that warned Clinton is "fighting to turn Texas blue."

"Her team knows that if we don't turn out the vote, Texas could be in play, and that would guarantee her a national victory," wrote John Jackson, Abbott's campaign director.



President Barack Obama is on a swing through Asia — and he took two Texas Democrats with him on the Vietnam leg of his Asian tour this week.

U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and Beto O'Rourke of El Paso flew on Air Force One over the weekend to Hanoi, Vietnam. Both congressmen are expected back stateside later this week.

In a Facebook post, O'Rourke said the aim of the trip was to "to learn more about the conditions in Vietnam and how trade impacts Southeast Asia and the United States."

The two men also traveled with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Froman was a key negotiator for the not-yet-passed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which encompassed many of the Pacific Rim countries.

"It is an honor to travel to Vietnam with President Obama," Castro said in a statement ahead of the trip. "It will be a valuable opportunity to meet with the nation’s political and business leaders. I anticipate conversations will cover our security, economic, and human rights interests."

That deal may come up for a vote before Congress later this year, but its prospects are one of the most uncertain issues facing this Congress.



A couple of deep-pocketed Texans are stepping up to help raise money for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Hushang Ansary of Houston and Ray Washburne of Dallas were named Tuesday to the 2016 Trump Victory Leadership Team, an effort by the Republican National Committee to provide Trump's campaign with a fundraising network. Ansary was given the title of "presidential trustee," while Washburne was tapped as a vice chair.

Both Ansary and Washburne have previously been involved in the presidential race. Ansary, a businessman, was a top donor to a super PAC supporting former GOP candidate Jeb Bush. Washburne, an investor, was the top finance adviser to ex-Republican hopeful Chris Christie.

While the team includes people who supported many former GOP candidates, few appear to be allied with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Liz Uihlein, one of the presidential trustees, is the wife of Dick Uihlein, a multimillion-dollar donor to the pro-Cruz super PAC network.


In other Cruz news, the senator called this week for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald for remarks earlier this week comparing VA lines to waits at Disneyland.

“At this point, there can be no doubt there is a deep corruption within the VA, and we should not rest until it is rooted out, and our heroes receive the care that they earned," Cruz said on Wednesday. "Secretary McDonald’s recent comments make clear that he is not the man to ensure that happens, and as a result, he should resign.”

Disclosure: Steve Adler, Uber and Lyft have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.