Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner for governor, tweeted he’ll have a rebuttal to the uproar over his “Third World country” comment.
Referring to his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis, Abbott said, “It will show how clueless she is.”
"@byjayroot</a> wait till you see my response to her Monitor piece. It will show how clueless she is about the RGV"
Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX)
In a tweet as well as a letter to the editor of the McAllen Monitor, Davis called on Abbott “to apologize for his offensive comments about South Texas."
She said Abbott’s message is “untrue, hurts our state, harms economic development in our border communities.”
Last Tuesday in Dallas, during a speech about border security, Abbott described recent cases in the Rio Grande Valley as “this creeping corruption resembles Third World country practices.”
Abbott was referring to several high-profile cases tied to drug smuggling, such as the now-defunct Panama Unit, a drug task force that included the son of the Hidalgo County Sheriff.
The editorial read, “Abbott would not have made a similar comparison to Third World countries had he been talking about corruption in Dallas or Houston. ... We need to declare as a region that we are tired of having Hispanics act as the bogeyman of Texas.”
Dr. Henry Flores, a political analyst and professor at St. Mary’s University, said cases have been prosecuted in the Rio Grande Valley, but he said corruption exists almost anywhere there is power to be had, regardless of race.
Flores said Abbott’s remarks will only further widen the racial divide in Texas politics.
“What he’s really doing is appealing to extremists in his party,” Flores said.
As a result, Flores said he does not expect Abbott to apologize.
“I don’t think he’ll apologize because that’s just not who he is. But he needs to apologize,” Flores said.
Flores said the latest war of words between Abbott and Davis will earn a mention in his new book.
He said Abbott’s words did not target Hispanics directly, but he is using them to his political advantage.
“Strategic racism, that’s what that is,” Flores said.