On Wednesday, Gilbert Garcia, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, tweeted a screenshot of a Facebook post by Bexar County GOP Chair Cynthia Brehm alleging that the killing of George Floyd was staged to create racial tension and undermine President Trump.
This particular conspiracy theory has been making its way around social media as early as May 28, just a few days after Floyd died on May 25.
After Brehm’s alleged posting of the conspiracy theory came to light, she apparently removed it from her page.
Garcia’s screenshot of it, though, gained traction as Republican officials began denouncing it and called on Brehm to resign from her position in the party.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) was quick to comment, replying, “If this is an accurate email – she should resign.”
On Thursday, several other Republican officials and leaders serving over Bexar County chimed in and echoed Roy’s call for Brehm to resign, including Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), Texas GOP Chair James Dickey, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23), and State Sens. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton).
Nearly all of the members in the Texas House Republican Caucus signed a similar letter calling for Brehm’s resignation, except for five: Reps. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg), Mike Lang (R-Granbury), Hugh Shine (R-Temple), Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), and Valoree Swanson (R-Spring).
Brehm reportedly stated that she would not resign from her position, saying that everyone has a right to free speech.
This is not the first time that other party leaders have asked Brehm to step down.
Shortly after being elected to the position in 2018, local leaders also requested Brehm’s resignation amid a controversy involving her husband.
Some party officials criticized her for failing to acknowledge to voters that her husband had previously pled guilty to “indecent liberties with a child,” though he was never convicted.
Brehm is currently seeking reelection as the Bexar County GOP chair and is in a runoff with John Austin.
In the primary election, Brehm received 33.5 percent of the vote out of the four candidates, while Austin received 31.4 percent.
Austin has also criticized Brehm’s sharing of the conspiracy about George Floyd’s death.
Two other chairs have also been criticized by party leaders for sharing the conspiracy: Nueces County GOP Chairman Jim Kaelin and Harrison County GOP Chairman Lee Lester.
As of writing, Kaelin’s post is still public on his personal Facebook page. He said that the post was sent to him “by a state police investigator.”
“I thought I would share it with you for your consideration,” he wrote.
Lester reportedly posted the same text in a Facebook group.
Several Republicans have also criticized Keith Nielsen, the chairman-elect of the Harris County GOP, for posting an image of a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beside King’s quotation, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” was a photo of a banana.
Some have criticized that post as an allusion to the racist comparison equating black people and monkeys.
“It is unfortunate that the sentiment of the quote and my admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been overshadowed by people’s misinterpretation of an image,” Nielsen reportedly stated. “My hope is I will continue to be part of the solution and never part of the problem.”
Nielsen also reportedly said that the image was designed using an app, and that he thought the photo was appropriate because “everything is going bananas.”
Republicans to condemn Nielsen’s post include Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), as well as state House candidates Lacey Hull and Luis LaRotta.
Sue Piner, the Comal County GOP chair, has been criticized for sharing a post alleging that George Soros was involved in paying police to kill black people and protesters to riot. Party leaders, including Dickey and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush have called for her resignation in addition to the four others.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.