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Valdez: Abbott is a ‘Trump puppet’

June 23, 2018 GMT

FORT WORTH — Gov. Greg Abbott is a “Trump puppet,” for failing to stand up to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy that led to thousands of heartbreaking family separations on the border in recent weeks, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Lupe Valdez said.

“It took more than 2,300 children to be separated for him to speak up. He waited until it was politically correct,” the former Dallas county sheriff said.

Texas Democrats want to remind voters they have choices in the 2018 election, in hopes the Trump administration’s actions will cause enough backlash that a “blue wave” of voters will land more Democrats into office.

“Don’t come to Texas because they torture your children if you do.” That’s the message Mike Collier, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said the Trump administration’s policy and top state official’s silence was sending to Central Americans wanting to cross into the United States.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to walk back the “zero tolerance” policy set in April that separated families illegally crossing the border. Collier and gubernatorial hopeful Valdez, in Fort Worth for the Texas Democratic Party’s convention, lambasted top Texas officials for their silence as some 2,300 children were taken from their families, many while on Texas soil.

MORE: Abbott, Patrick quiet on ‘zero tolerance policy’

Collier, who is running to unseat powerful Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, added the governor should to set up a monitoring committee to oversee operations to reunite families.

Abbott and Patrick have refused to answer questions on whether they endorsed the White House’s zero tolerance policy as images spread over the last week of heartbreaking family separations. But Abbott did send a letter to Texas’ congressional delegation asking them to pass immigration legislation that would end the practice of removing children from their parents.

Andrea Zelinski covers politics for the Houston Chronicle. Read her recent stories here. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Send her tips at andrea.zelinski@chron.com.