Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib praised fellow Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas on Tuesday for publishing a partial list of President Donald Trump’s donors to his Twitter account.
As Castro received criticism for his decision to dox dozens of Republican donors in San Antonio, Tlaib responded to the Texas congressman, offering her support.
“Chairman Castro, They don’t like it when you name their donors,” Tlaib said. “The public needs to know who funds racism.”
Chairman Castro, They don’t like it when you name their donors. The public needs to know who funds racism. https://t.co/7qfg1RT79y
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 7, 2019
The donor list Tlaib was referencing was published on the Castro campaign’s Twitter account.
See a redacted version of the tweet below.
Voices from across the political spectrum called Castro out for targeting individual donors.
The campaign of a member of congress targeting individual donors, and their businesses, to another campaign (and not famous billionaires) is a terrible and dangerous precedent to set.
Also, this isn’t even Joaquin Castro’s opponent.
Not that it would be ok if it were.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 6, 2019
“The campaign of a member of congress targeting individual donors, and their businesses, to another campaign (and not famous billionaires) is a terrible and dangerous precedent to set,” tweeted HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali.
Joaquin Castro is targeting @realDonaldTrump‘s supporters for simply exercising their right to free speech.
It’s a dangerous precedent for any politician to set.
Why won’t 2020 Democrats condemn it?
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 7, 2019
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel wondered of the doxing, “Why won’t 2020 Democrats condemn it?”
Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous. What happened to “when they go low, we go high?” Or does that no longer matter when your brother is polling at 1%? Americans deserve better. https://t.co/PiFcifpxc1
— Kevin McCarthy (@kevinomccarthy) August 6, 2019
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California wrote that “targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous.”
Castro defended himself against McCarthy’s allegation by claiming that “no one was targeted or harassed in my post.”
No one was targeted or harassed in my post. You know that. All that info is routinely published.
You’re trying to distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP and the fact that President Trump spends donor money on thousands of ads about Hispanics “invading” America. 1/2 https://t.co/TwUDC4m5tO
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 7, 2019
But by broadcasting the list to his tens of thousands of followers and declaring that the “contributions are fueling a campaign of hate,” Castro was leaving those donors vulnerable to harassment.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show on Wednesday, host Willie Geist pressed Castro about the potential ramifications of the tweet.
“What do you say to those people this morning who said ‘I made a campaign donation and now I’m going to be harassed, I’m going to have people protesting outside my business or perhaps even my home.’ What do you say to them?” Geist asked.
“I don’t want anybody harassed or targeted,” Castro replied.
“But they will be,” Geist cut in, “because you put their names in public.”
Castro’s only defense was that “that was not my intention.”
Watch the exchange below:
In the interview — on a network friendly to Castro’s cause — the congressman struggled to offer a coherent reason for publishing the list.
Tlaib was happy to supply an explanation: “The public needs to know who funds racism.”
The Minnesota Democrat’s response raises an important question: Why?
Why does the public need to know the names of Trump donors? What will they gain with that knowledge? How might they act on that knowledge?
Castro has not answered those questions. It’s unlikely he will ever answer those questions.
His list of donors opened the door to harassment and intimidation. Regardless of Castro’s motive, the consequences of his tweet may be destructive.
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