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This article has been updated.
A spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday sharply condemned Bexar County Republican Chair Cynthia Brehm following her since-deleted Facebook post about the death of George Floyd, joining other Republican elected officials in calling for her resignation.
Brehm posted on her Facebook page, but later deleted, an item that began, “Tell me what you think: Subject: George Floyd – A Staged Event?” Before the post was deleted, a San Antonio Express-News columnist took a screenshot and posted it Wednesday on Twitter.
“These comments are disgusting and have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse,” Abbott’s communications director John Wittman said. “Cynthia Brehm should immediately resign her position as Chair of the Bexar County Republican Party.”
George Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, an incident captured on video. His death spurred nationwide protests from Black Lives Matters supporters, including in San Antonio.
Brehm went on to muse in her Facebook post that “something is just not adding up.” She floated the idea that Floyd’s death was filmed and planned “with the purpose of creating racial tensions and driving a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people.”
Brehm, who is seeking reelection for her chair position in a July 14 runoff against John Austin, deleted the post later on Wednesday, according to the Express-News columnist who shared the post. Though that post is no longer on her page, people began commenting on another post she shared Wednesday with calls to resign.
Brehm did not respond to the Rivard Report‘s request for comment but told other media outlets she would not resign.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also stated in a tweet that Brehm should step down. “Cynthia Brehm’s comments were wrong, and only serve to divide us at a time when we all need to come together,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin), whose district includes part of Bexar County, responded succinctly to the tweeted screenshot of Brehm’s post: “If this is an accurate email – she should resign.” Travis County Republican Chair Matt Mackowiak, who is currently working on Tony Gonzales’ campaign for the 23rd Congressional District seat that U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Helotes) will leave after this term, also tweeted that Brehm should resign.
“She has been an embarrassment for 2 years,” he posted on Twitter. “With this deleted [Facebook] post last night, she is now an embarrassment to [the Republican Party of Texas] and [the Republican Party].”
James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas Chairman, said Thursday he personally reached out to Brehm to resign “immediately.”
“Cynthia Brehm’s position regarding the tragic injustice of the death of George Floyd has no place in the Republican Party of Texas,” Dickey said. “We cannot abide by her caustic remarks. They are out of alignment with our core beliefs and our platform.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick echoed the calls for Brehm to step down, saying in a Tweet, “There is no excuse for this outrageous, ignorant racist message made worse by using her position as a local party leader to spread it. It does not reflect the thinking of Bexar GOP or Republicans anywhere.”
Some Bexar County GOP precinct chairs and local party activists also denounced Brehm’s post.
Texas Democratic Party communications director Abhi Rahman said Brehm’s comments are “flat-out wrong and dangerous.”
“Republican State Senator Pete Flores, Governor Abbott and the Republican Party of Texas should demand Cynthia Brehm’s immediate resignation,” Rahman said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Enough is enough. … When Brehm spewed crazy theories about the COVID crisis, Republican leadership’s silence was deafening. It’s no wonder why she felt emboldened to spread hate and lies once again.”
On May 22, Brehm accused Democrats of using the coronavirus pandemic as a partisan strategy.
“All of this has been promulgated by the Democrats to undo all the good that President [Donald] Trump has done for this country, and they are worried,” she said. “So take off your mask, exercise your constitutional rights, stand up, speak up, and vote Republican.”