AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Texas’ GOP House speaker called a female lawmaker “vile” and said President Donald Trump is “killing us” with urban and suburban voters in a secretly recorded meeting with a conservative activist.
House Speaker Dennis Bonnen also personally disparaged a Democratic lawmaker in the tape released Tuesday by activist Michael Sullivan.
Remember when #TxLege Speaker @RepDennisBonnen publicly threatened every legislator with retribution if they campaigned against another incumbent regardless of party? What he said in private is very different & self-serving.
— Michael Quinn Sullivan (@MQSullivan) October 15, 2019
The tape is at the center of an ongoing state police investigation into whether Bonnen improperly offered House media credentials in exchange for campaign help. It’s also thrown Republicans into disarray at a time when their state dominance is slipping.
The tape has prompted calls for Bonnen’s resignation.
Bonnen released a statement after the recording was released that read:
“I have repeatedly called for the recording to be released because it will be immediately clear that no laws were broken. This was nothing more than a political discussion — the problem is that I had it with that guy. My colleagues have always deserved the facts and context this recording provides, and with clear evidence now disproving allegations of criminal wrongdoing, the House can finally move on.”
The meeting happened in June between Bonnen and the leader of a hardline conservative group called Empower Texans. It wasn’t clear whether the hourlong recording was edited.