SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: Bexar County GOP Chair Cynthia Brehm told KSAT Thursday evening that has no plans to resign, adding that she has learned from the situation and is moving forward with representing Republicans in Bexar County.
Brehm said the Facebook post was something she received from a woman named Gigi Hughes, a friend she says is a publisher of an East Side publication. She said Hughes and other publishers from around the country found irregularities in the video that showed Floyd’s killing.
Brehm said she immediately received backlash after posting and took it down. She said Hughes has apologized to her for the backlash. She is up for reelection during the July 14 runoff.
ORIGINAL: Gov. Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and other prominent Texas Republicans want Cynthia Brehm to resign her post immediately as Bexar County GOP Chair for spreading a George Floyd conspiracy theory.
Brehm shared a post on her Facebook page late Monday night that claimed Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis police officer was a “staged event” to damage President Donald Trump standing with black voters. The unfounded post has since been deleted from Brehm’s page, but not before a chorus of criticism from top Republicans.
“These comments are disgusting and have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse,” John Wittman, Gov. Abbott’s communications director, told the Austin-American Statesman. “Cynthia Brehm should immediately resign her position as chair of the Bexar County Republican Party.”
Cornyn’s campaign, up for reelection in November, said in a written statement to The Dallas Morning News, “Senator Cornyn shares Governor Abbott’s belief that Cynthia Brehm should resign.”
The post claimed Floyd’s slaying at the hands of police was possibly “a filmed public execution of a black man by a white cop, with the purpose of creating racial tensions and driving a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people, that have been already been psychologically traumatized by COVID 19 fears.”
“Considering the rising approval level of President Trump in the black community an event like this was entirely ‘Predictable,'" the post read. Brehm’s profile image is a red, white and blue high-heel shoe with the text “Trump Girl.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, whose district serves an area north of San Antonio, and Travis County Republican Chairman Matt Mackowiak also said Brehm should go, the Statesman reported.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey echoed what the other GOP leaders said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“Cynthia Brehm’s position regarding the tragic injustice of the death of George Floyd has no place in the Republican Party of Texas. We can not abide by her caustic remarks. They are out of alignment with our core beliefs and our platform. I have personally reached out to Cynthia Brehm and called on her to resign her post as Chair of the Republican Party of Bexar County immediately.”
Brehm received 33 percentage points during the March primary, but is currently in a runoff with John Austin, who received 31 percentage points. That election takes place July 14.
Austin sent KSAT the following statement:
"The tragic death of George Floyd has saddened all of us. We pray for the Floyd family to find peace. The nation is morning with the Floyd family, with people across the country and world feeling pain and sorrow.
“Bexar County Republican Party Chairman Cynthia Brehm’s Facebook post from June 1, 2020 reflected a basic disregard for facts. Everyone who has viewed the video has been saddened and appalled. Leaders across the nation including President Trump, Governor Abbott and other state and local officials all agree that what was seen on the video was tragic but true. Instead, the Chairwoman has decided to once again promote an alternate reality. Her actions are very hurtful and denigrates the memory of George Floyd and amplifies the pain and suffering that the country is going through. I completely disagree with all of Cynthia’s divisive statements and innuendos.”
Brehm’s post has been shared on other social media pages and has been fact-checked by Politifact, where it received a “Pants on Fire” rating.
The post is the latest controversy involving Brehm. On May 23, during a news conference in front of City Hall, she suggested that the coronavirus was a hoax with political motivations.
“All of this has been promulgated by the Democrats to undo the good Trump has done for our country, and they are worried,” she said. "So, take off your masks, exercise your constitutional rights. Stand up, speak up and vote Republican.”
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Brehm was a good example of “a crazy person” holding office. Wolff has not issued a statement on her Floyd comments.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg disagreed with Brehm about her accusations.
“I think there’s many people that are trying to make this pandemic a political issue, but it’s not," he said.
In September 2019, Brehm posted a video on the county’s GOP party’s Facebook page about a dispute at an auto shop over a President Trump bumper sticker that she characterized as a politically motivated attempt to suppress a customer’s right to free speech.
In the video, Brehm interviewed a couple who claimed a vehicle inspector at a San Antonio auto shop made them remove the sticker before he would inspect the vehicle.
"Folks what I'm here to tell you is this: Your vehicle is your personal property and you are protected by the U.S. Constitution. You do not have to take off that sticker," Brehm said in the video.
But the mechanic involved told KSAT 12 that the reason he wanted the sticker removed was that it was illegally placed and his request to remove it had nothing to do with politics.