A Texas Democrat who was among more than 50 state lawmakers to fly from Austin to Washington, D.C., earlier this week to block a GOP voting bill by denying quorum was called out by critics on social media Thursday night over a post about her hand-washed clothes.
Critics suggested the post was another self-serving attempt by a Democrat to portray their absence from Texas – after taking a chartered flight to the nation’s capital – as a personal sacrifice instead of a political strategy move.
“You bet we’re recognizing & honoring our country’s heritage,” state Rep. Donna Howard posted. “As most Texans, tho [sp], this is what we’re doing tonight—using whatever is accessible, uwashing [sic] our clothes in the sink.”
Howard’s Twitter post included a photo of her wet clothes draped over a shower curtain in what looked like a modest hotel room.
Some supporters of the Democrats see them as defending democracy itself, while their critics see their D.C. jaunt as an exclusive summertime sightseeing tour of Washington, in which they’ve been eating salads and drinking Miller Lites– on someone else’s dime.
The Texas State Legislature is a part-time body whose members are paid an annual salary of $7,200. So the vast majority of the delegates have other primary jobs back in Texas. But state representatives collect a $221 per diem for days that the legislature is in session.
A spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott’s office told Fox News on Wednesday that the Democrats who flew to Washington were still receiving that daily stipend.
Some critics asked why Howard’s clothes were not just laundered.
Matt Whitlock, a Republican commentator, called the lawmaker’s tweet “super strange.”
“But as you know, you wouldn’t have to do this if you were at home in Texas doing your job,” he tweeted. “Instead of being here to do tourist things and gaslight about election bills not actually accomplishing anything.”
Texas House Democrats left the state Monday in an attempt to break quorum and stop the votes on two election bills put forward by state Republicans. The lawmakers hopped on a private flight to Washington where they planned to push for federal voter protections.
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