Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is facing a mounting backlash -- and not just from Republicans -- for posting the names and employers of dozens of Trump campaign donors in the San Antonio area, even as the Texas congressman defends his actions.
Prominent figures from outlets including MSNBC and The New York Times have called out Castro for the potentially dangerous post.
“This is dangerous, by any campaign,” Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted in response to a post from the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker. Haberman specifically said she did not want to retweet the image herself “because I don’t want to put these people’s names in my feed.”
Journalist Yashar Ali called it “awful,” and said, “The campaign of a member of congress targeting individual donors, and their businesses, to another campaign (and not famous billionaires) is a terrible and dangerous precedent to set.”
The Texas congressman's original tweet included a list of San Antonio residents who had donated large amounts to the Trump campaign, along with the names of their employers. It is unclear who actually compiled the list.
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump," Castro tweeted, along with the Twitter handles of several owners of local businesses who apparently donated to Trump. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’”
MSNBC’s Willie Geist pointed out the risk during a Wednesday morning interview with Castro, who is the campaign chairman for his brother, 2020 presidential hopeful Julian Castro.
“What do you say to those people this morning who said I made a campaign donation and now I’m going to be harassed, I’m going to have people protesting outside my business or perhaps even my home … what do you want from them?” Geist asked.
Castro said his intention was not to put anyone in danger, claiming, “I don’t want anybody harassed.”
“But they will be because you put their names in public,” Geist said.
Castro again said, “That was not my intention,” and Geist again insisted, “But that’s what will happen.”
When Geist pointed out that “there are 11 retirees and one homemaker,” who are on the list, Castro simply said, “I didn’t make the graphic.”
Several prominent Republicans also slammed Castro for the post, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is from Castro’s home state. Cruz said that what Castro did is “wrong” and that “elected representatives should not be vilifying & doxxing their own constituents.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it “shameful and dangerous,” and implied that Castro was motivated by his brother Julian's presidential campaign.
“Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous,” McCarthy said. “What happened to 'when they go low, we go high?' Or does that no longer matter when your brother is polling at 1%? Americans deserve better.”
“How low have Dems sunk?” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tweeted. “This is Joaquin Castro, Congressman & chair of his brother’s campaign. Naming private citizens & their employers, targeting them for their political views and exercising 1st Amendment rights.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who was the victim of a politically motivated shooting in 2017, also flagged the tweet.
“People should not be personally targeted for their political views. Period," Scalise tweeted Tuesday. "This isn’t a game. It’s dangerous, and lives are at stake. I know this firsthand."