Democratic State Representative Donna Howard was mocked on Thursday after posting a picture of her clothes, saying she washed them in her sink.
Howard was one of 60 Democratic local lawmakers who fled to Washington D.C. on Monday to stop the Republican-majority state legislature from passing two voting rights bills that they deem ‘restrictive’. The group are being put up in a $200-a-night hotel.
‘You bet we’re recognizing & honoring our country’s heritage’, she wrote on Twitter. ‘As most Texans, tho, this is what we’re doing tonight – using whatever is accessible, washing our clothes in the sink’.
She included a picture of her leopard print t-shirt and panties, three plain pairs of underpants, and a bra drying over the shower rail in her hotel room.
Howard was widely mocked for sharing the picture from her hotel bedroom, with many pointing out she had plenty of time to pack before leaving Texas.
‘You had plenty of to pack a bag tho’, one user wrote.
Another pointed out she could easily have had her clothes washed at a nearby laundromat, and suggested the tweet was a joke.
‘I can walk two blocks to a laundromat and have them wash, dry, and fold my clothes in like 3 hours for $.75/lb. How is this not a bit?’
Others responded sarcastically to the runaway Texan Democrat, saying: ‘We are in awe of your sacrifice. I cannot even fathom how you are staying strong through these difficult times. A true hero’, one user wrote.
Democratic State Representative Donna Howard was mocked on Thursday after posting a picture of her clothes, saying she washed them in her sink
Democratic Texas Rep. Donna Howard speaks in the house chamber in Austin, Texas, on May 5, 2021
Others joked Howard should leak pictures of her underpants to the press if she wants to show them off.
While another suggested she was seeking attention, posted a picture of delivery man holding several boxes with the caption ‘here’s all that attention you ordered’.
Another joked private jets often lose people’s luggage and are ‘not to be trusted’.
’50/50 chance those dang private jets will lose your luggage. Not to be trusted. Please let us know when your gofundme account is set up.’
The lawmakers fled Texas for Washington D.C. on two private jets chartered at $100,000 on Monday.
The lawmakers met with progressive Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Capitol on Wednesday morning after meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris the day before.
It is not clear who else the group plans to meet with while in D.C. Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott late on Tuesday slammed President Joe Biden and the Democrats for ‘spreading disinformation’ about the election bills, claiming the legislation would actually expand voters’ rights.
‘Biden has a pattern of spreading misinformation & he’s at it again today,’ Abbott wrote in a tweet.
‘The [Texas Legislature] is passing a law that EXPANDS early voting hours & prevents mail-in ballot fraud. Texas is making it EASIER to vote & harder to cheat,’ he added.
The Texas Senate bill would allow voting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. – an increase of three hours on weekdays and 10 hours on Sundays – and would lower the population threshold from 100,000 to 30,000 for counties to open the polling booths for at least 12 hours in the week before Election Day.
Mail voters would also be asked to verify their identities with a state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number in a bid to get rid of signature verification that accounts for a higher number of rejected ballots.
Texas Democrats believe the two bills passing through the state legislature would make it harder to vote and fled the state and headed to Washington D.C.
Massachusetts progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren met with the group of runaway Texas lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday
The lawmakers fleeing D.C. on two private jets chartered at $100,000 resulted in the remaining State House members on Tuesday voting 76-4 to arrest the runaways once they step foot back in Texas
The lawmakers fleeing D.C. on two private jets chartered at $100,000 resulted in the remaining State House members on Tuesday voting 76-4 to arrest the runaways once they step foot back in Texas.
The 60 Democratic lawmakers from the Lone Star State fled Austin to D.C. on Monday evening in order to break a quorum and block the Texas State House from passing new voting rights legislation.
‘Members, a sergeant-at-arms and any officer appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance under warrant of arrest if necessary,’ Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced from the State House floor after the vote on Tuesday.
Texas House rules allow the sergeant-at-arms to arrest members who are not present at the Capitol for a vote – and the show of disapproval Tuesday could result in the lawmakers’ arrest when they land back in the Lone Star State.
The Tuesday vote, however, doesn’t hold much weight as long as the Democrats remain in Washington since by crossing state lines they have escaped jurisdiction of Texas law enforcement.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, however, can continue calling 30-day special sessions until a quorum is reached.
The few dozen state lawmakers maintain that they aren’t afraid of Governor Greg Abbott’s threats to arrest them for fleeing the state to break a quorum and avoid voting on Republicans ‘ election legislation.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Philadelphia on Tuesday that Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with the group of lawmakers sometime this week.
It is not immediately clear if President Joe Biden plans to meet with them, but Jean-Pierre said when asked if he supports their decision: ‘He applauds their courage.’
The Texas State House adjourned on Tuesday morning. The remaining lawmakers – mostly Republican – voted 76-4 to arrest Democrat members who broke the quorum by fleeing to Washington D.C.
TEXAS’ VOTING RIGHTS BILLS: WHAT’S IN THEM AND WHY THE DEMOCRATS THINK THEY ‘RESTRICT’ ELECTIONS
- The bills – House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 – were filed last week during a special legislative session called by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
- The proposed legislation creates harsher criminal penalties for people who help voters at the polls or those planning to vote by mail.
- The bills, if passed, would be a ban on 24-hour voting. Instead, there would be a new voting window from 6am to 10pm on election day.
- Rules would require residents to fill out paperwork if you are taking someone who is not a relative to vote in person.
- Regulations would require someone to exit their car during curbside voting.
- Bills would mean voters would have to provide their drivers license or the last four digits of their social security number to cast a ballot.
- New rules would stop local election officials from sending out mail-in ballots to those who haven’t requested them.
- Drive-in voting would be banned.
- Expands what partisan poll watchers can observe during counts.
- Prohibits poll watchers from being removed for violating election laws.
- Both bills would increase early voting from eight to nine hours.
- Also lowers the population threshold required for counties to provide at least 12 hours of early voting each weekday of the second week of early voting.
- Protects the legitimacy of elections and avoids fraud, according to Republicans.
Democrats argue that:
- The measures included in the bills would mainly stop minority communities and shift workers from voting because of the restricted hours.
- The regulations in the bills would make it harder to control disruptive partisan poll watchers.
- Would make it easier for losing candidates to try and overturn election results and harass winning candidates with court battles and recounts.
- Democrats also claim the provisions do nothing to make elections more secure in Texas.
- Insists the proposed legislation would help further the claims of election fraud Donald Trump has made in the aftermath of the 2020 election.
- Argue that restricted voting hours on a Sunday would have impacted the ability of black churchgoers, also known as ‘souls of the polls’, to cast their ballots.
- They instead want the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to be passed by Congress to address elections on a federal level.
- But Republicans insist that this is a power grab and would represent a ‘federal takeover’ of elections
The tweet comes after fellow runaway Democrat Gene Wu trolled Fox News after it picked up a picture of his ‘first meal as a fugitive’ – a caesar salad – after he posted an image on Twitter.
He followed up with a series of food related tweets and joked he was now working as a Fox News reporter.
He included an image of his breakfast, likely a continental offering at the $200 per night Washington Plaza Hotel – where the lawmakers are staying in Northwest Washington, D.C.
‘No steak? No whiskey? What a wuss!’ the Democratic Texas lawmaker sarcastically continued in his tweet. ‘(You should pay me… being a Fox News reporter is easy as falling off the back of a pickup truck.)’
In another tweet, Wu told people to ‘Forget the food,’ and pleaded that instead someone ‘Send Bourbon!’
‘(All we brought was 12 Miller Lites) -Texas Democrats,’ he wrote, in reference to the several reports pointing out that a picture from the coach bus carrying the Democrats to the airport in Austin included a case of Miller Lite beer taking up one seat.
He posted an image of a caesar salad Tuesday, saying it was his ‘first meal as a fugitive’
Democratic Texas Representative Gene Wu continued on Wednesday to troll Fox News by posting images of his food as Twitter users excoriate him for making light of him and 60 other state lawmakers fleeing Texas to block passage of Republican voting laws
He told Fox in a tweet Wednesday ‘I made this for you’ along with a picture of his breakfast fruit arranged on his plate in a smiley face
He also pleaded that someone ‘send Bourbon!’ because they only brought a case of Miller Lite
During a press conference in front of the Capitol on Tuesday morning, the large group broke out into song with a Civil Rights-era gospel, and getting the words wrong in claiming ‘we will overcome’ after arriving in D.C. on a pair of jets that cost them $100,000 to charter.
‘I’m not worried about the threat of being arrested,’ Texas State Representative Jasmine Crockett told CNN the morning after arriving in D.C.
‘I don’t worry probably because I know the law,’ she continued. ‘I’ve not committed a crime, so I can’t get arrested.’
Trey Martinez Fischer, a fellow Democratic member of the Texas State House, said Tuesday that the group of around 60 lawmakers plan to wait out the full 30-day legislative session in Washington D.C.
‘This is the risk that we take to stand up for democracy,’ Martinez Fisher told CNN when asked about the potential of Abbott sending law enforcement after them.
The group is staying at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Northwest D.C., where rooms start at $199 per night. The hotel features a luxury outdoor pool and lounge surrounded by privacy greenery and trees.
The lawmakers left their hotel on Tuesday morning in buses headed for the Capitol, where they held a quick press conference outside the building.
The large group of Texas Democratic lawmakers who fled their state on Monday to avoid voting on Republicans’ election legislation held a press conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday morning. The lawmakers broke out in gospel song ‘We Shall Overcome’
Texas Democrats exit the $200-a-night Washington Plaza hotel on Tuesday morning to board coach buses en route to the Capitol
The Washington Plaza is located in Northwest Washington, D.C. The cost of rooms on Tuesday night starts at $199
Martinez Fischer said they are working on setting up meetings on Capitol Hill after fleeing Texas on Monday and breaking quorum in order to block Republican-proposed voting rights laws from passing. He said nothing is set in stone yet.
A quorum is the minimum number of members needed to conduct legislative proceedings and assure they are valid. In the case of Texas, two-thirds of its House members are needed to reach a quorum, which is 100 people.
The Texas House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans with a 83-67 majority. By 58 of the 67 Democrats fleeing the state, only a maximum of 92 can be present, meaning the minority was able to ‘break the quorum.’
Those remaining in the Texas State House, a vast majority Republicans, brought up consideration Tuesday on arresting their colleagues after two private jets – chartered by the state Democrats at a total cost of $100,000 – touched down in Washington D.C. from Austin on Monday carrying 58 lawmakers from Texas.
Meanwhile, Texas state senators are expected to move on with voting on the proposed election legislation on Tuesday.
Senator John Cornyn, who represents Texas, spoke on the floor of the upper chamber on Tuesday where he excoriated the Democrtic state lawmakers for their hypocrisy in not wearing masks on the coach buses or airplanes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines still require that vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans wear masks in all public transportation modes including buses, trains and planes.
‘They got on two charter jets maskless – with at least one case of lite beer – and hopped on the kets to come to Washington D.C.,’ Cornyn said as he pulled out a poster board with a picture of one of the coach buses with a large yellow circle around a case of Miller Lite beer with an arrow further emphasizing it.
Texas Senator John Cornyn brought a poster board to the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as he excoriated Democrats for going on their coach buses and private jets ‘maskless’ despite CDC guidelines still requiring the face coverings, regardless of vaccination status, on all public transportation. He also pointed out that they brought Miller Lite on the trip
To permanently block the two voting bills, the Texas House Democrats would have to stay away through the end of the special legislative session, which can last as many as 30 days.
The session ends on August 7, meaning there are 24 days left.
Abbott, however, can call special session after special session until a quorum is reached. He signaled that he intends to do so.
During the press conference outside the Capitol Tuesday morning the lawmakers said they are just ‘buying time’ with their stunt.
At one point, the group began belting out ‘We Shall Overcome’, a gospel song that became a protest anthem of the American civil rights movement. They got the lyrics wrong, however, and sang ‘we will overcome’ instead of ‘shall.’
‘Quit criminalizing elections,’ Martinez Fisher demanded in his New Day interview the morning after arriving on a private jet in D.C. He claimed one of the main points Democrats are fighting in the GOP voting bill in Texas is allowing poll watchers because it’s ‘voter intimidation.’
‘You’ll be gone for a month, it sounds like,’ CNN morning host Brianna Keilar said.
Martinez Fisher replied: ‘If that’s what it takes.’
The Texas lawmaker assured that the trip to the nation’s capital was completely privately funded and did not rely on taxpayer dollars. Some also flew on commercial flights – like Crockett, who said she flew Southwest to get from Texas to Washington.
He posted a video of himself from the tarmac on Monday asking for donations to his campaign to help fund the trip – including travel and accommodation costs.
‘We’re going to break quorum. I can’t do this alone, I need your help. I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone,’ he said in a self-style video before asking for donations to his campaign.
The Washington Plaza Hotel, where the lawmakers are staying, includes an outdoor pool surrounded by trees for privacy
The state lawmaker told CNN that the hotel costs Tuesday night will be paid for directly out of his campaign account.
Members of the Texas House of Representatives make only $7,500 per year.
Martinez Fischer insisted that chartering a private plane instead of flying commercially was necessary because ‘everybody wants to see’ us, so we ‘need to fly privately.’
Dan Crenshaw, who represents Texas’ 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House, called the group ‘pathetic’ and ‘delinquent children’ on Monday evening.
‘Hard to imagine a more delusional group of people – thinking that lying about these bills, hopping on a chartered flight, sipping beer, and skipping work is ‘sacrifice,’ he tweeted.
The Republican congressman added: ‘You guys are pathetic. Totally pathetic.’
‘These delinquents are doing this to kill a bill that does things like make voting hours across counties the same,’ he followed up in another tweet. ‘There isn’t a single thing in these bills that is ‘voter suppression.’ This a (sic) giant charade. Texans should be furious, and vote all of these children out of office.’
Abbott said on Monday night the state Democrats will be arrested upon their return to Texas.
The governor’s office did not respond to DailyMail.com when asked whether he plans to send law enforcement after the members as they hunker down in Washington.
Abbott described the lawmakers as ‘quitters’ who were ‘un-Texan’ in running from a fight.
The two bills would ban several election programs implemented last year to help people vote during the coronavirus pandemic, including drive-through voting and 24-hour and late-night voting.
Voting rights advocates noted that voters of color used these programs disproportionately.
‘That’s why they fled the state,’ Abbott told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. ‘Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas capital and we will be conducting business.’
At least 58 Democrats left Austin to avoid the vote on two election bills, touching down in Washington D.C. on Monday evening in two private jets (pictured)
They would be arrested under a procedure known as ‘a call of the House’, which allows law enforcement to track down lawmakers who have already fled the chamber.
Dustin Burrows, chair of the House calendar committee, told The Texas Tribune: ‘It’s a sad commentary that we may have to utilize a procedural rule to try and force most of the Democrats to show up to do the job they were elected to do.’
He said that ‘unfortunately, the siren call of social media fame and fundraising’ had lured Democrats to D.C.
Abbott was equally scathing of the runaway Democrats.
‘Isn’t that the most un-Texan thing you have ever heard? Texans running from a fight?’ he said.
‘They are quitters. It’s like during a football game or baseball game taking their equipment when they are way behind and just leaving the field.
‘That is not the way that Texans do things.’
The Democrats’ departure paralyzed the Texas state house as the legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers be present to conduct business.
Abbott said that their behavior was anti-democratic, noting: ‘They are leaving and abandoning their right to vote.’
He vowed that he would ‘continue calling special session after special session’ to force the runaways to ‘step up to vote.’
Abbott said it was ‘hypocrisy’ to try ‘using a filibuster to flee the state of Texas to plead with the president to do away with the filibuster in Washington, D.C.’
Texas has 12 days of early voting and hours of which will be expanded, and will ‘ensure that hours are expended on election day also – so their entire thesis is completely wrong.’
He repeated his argument that it was easier to vote in Texas than in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, where there is no early voting.
‘If anybody wants to talk about voter suppression, they should be talking about Delaware, not Texas,’ he said.
Earlier on Monday, Abbott issued a statement demanding the Democrats show up to work and ‘put aside partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do.’
He added: ‘Texas Democrats’ decision to break a quorum of the Texas Legislature and abandon the Texas State Capitol inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve.
‘As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.’
The Democrats, in a statement, said they were acting to prevent ‘dangerous’ legislation.
Kamala Harris, the vice president, praised them for their ‘extraordinary courage and commitment’ for American voter rights.
‘I applaud them standing for the rights of all Americans, and all Texans to express their voice through their vote, unencumbered,’ she said.
‘I do believe that fighting for the right to vote is as American as apple pie,’ she said.
The Texas state House Democratic caucus said in a statement: ‘Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote.
‘We are now taking flight to our nation’s Capitol. We are living on borrowed time in Texas.
‘We need Congress to act now to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect Texans – and all Americans – from the Trump Republicans’ nationwide war on democracy,’ they added.
Julie Johnson, a Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives, posted a selfie on a coach bus that drove a group of lawmakers to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Featured in the image was a case of Miller Lite beer.
Texas State Rep. Julie Johnson posted a selfie or her and other Democratic lawmakers in a coach bus as they fled the state on private jets for Washington D.C. to prevent Texas Republicans from passing voting integrity legislation
Featured in the image posted to Twitter is a case of Miller Lite beer occupying a seat on the bus
‘When it comes to protecting our right to vote, all cards are on the table,’ Johnson tweeted.
‘We broke #quorum again today because the Gov & #txlege Repubs chose to bully Texans out of our constitutional rights instead of finding solutions to problems that really exist.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday it was ‘certainly’ possible that some administration officials would meet with the runaway Democrats.
She called the new voting laws ‘the worst challenge to our democracy since the Civil War.’
The state’s Democrats already staged one successful walkout to defeat the election legislation prioritized by Abbott.
They quietly left the state house floor in the final minutes of the regular legislative session that ended in May, breaking quorum and forcing Republicans to adjourn without passing the measure.
Abbott called the state legislature back for a special session to deal with the two measures he wants passed.
Senate Republicans in Washington blocked Democrats nation-wide voting rights bill earlier this summer.
As of June 21, 17 states enacted 28 new laws that restrict access to the vote this year alone, according to the Brenner Center for Justice.