Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lambasted Portland leaders as “depraved” and accused them of putting residents in “grave danger” in response to the city’s plan to ban buying goods and services from the Lone Star State over its new law restricting access to abortions.
“Portland boycotting Texas is a complete joke,” Patrick, a conservative-talk-radio-host-turned-politician, tweeted Monday. “A city led by depraved officials allows lawlessness, putting their citizens in grave danger. A boycott will hurt them, not us. Texas’ economy is stronger than ever. We value babies and police, they don’t.”
Days prior, the Texas lieutenant governor — who has a history of making incendiary comments — similarly trashed Mayor Ted Wheeler for Portland’s decision to cut millions of dollars from its police bureau’s budget amid racial justice protests last year that continued nightly for months, erupting into occasional riots and clashes between cops and demonstrators.
“Texas is solidly #prolife and Texans support law enforcement,” wrote Patrick, who assumed his state’s second most powerful elected office in 2015. “Meanwhile, Portland is a dumpster fire and Texas is thriving.”
Wheeler’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Patrick’s criticisms came in response to a scheduled vote Wednesday by the Portland City Council to boycott spending money with Texas businesses and halting city employee travel to the state. The ban would be in effect until the state either withdraws the legislation or the law gets overturned in court.
Portland city leaders proposed the boycott in response to Texas’ new law, which went into effect Wednesday and bans abortions after physicians can detect fetal cardiac activity. That typically occurs in the early stages of pregnancy — around six weeks — before most people know they’re pregnant.
The law also allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs or assists in an abortion. Plaintiffs can recover up to $10,000 in statutory damages for every procedure they successfully report.
The law sparked an immediate outcry nationwide. In a 5-4 vote last week, the Supreme Court declined to block it.
“All people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy,” Wheeler’s office said in a statement Friday. “This law rewards private individuals for exercising surveillance and control over others’ bodies … And, it will force people to carry pregnancies against their will.”
It’s not immediately clear what impact, if any, the proposed boycott might have on business conducted by the city of Portland. It’s also unclear if Portland has any existing contracts with Texas businesses, but the proposed resolution apparently will boycott only future Texas purchases and travel.
The city has not yet posted its draft resolution online for public vetting, and Wheeler’s office last week said it was under review by city attorneys.
Six years ago, then-Mayor Charlie Hales banned employee travel to Indiana in response to a state law that many worried would not provide adequate protections against discrimination for LGBT individuals.