President Donald J. Trump jokingly told a Texas sheriff Tuesday he’d help “destroy” a state senator’s political career.
But just like on reality TV, he left us guessing which one.
In Washington, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson was telling Trump about an unnamed senator who wants to reform drug-asset-forfeiture laws, so police can’t stop cars just to see what they can seize.
Bur Eavenson never named which senator, setting off a daylong guessing game.
The sheriff, of course, favors current seizure laws. He said he told Sen. Unnamed that if the bill passed, the cartel “would build a monument to him in Mexico.”
Trump’s reply: “Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name?” — and, with a grin: “We’ll destroy his career.”
Eavenson didn’t say. But reporters guessed state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, author of the reform bill, or ally Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who represents Rockwall.
Burton’s bill would allow money or cars to be seized, but only after a conviction. (Now, suspects automatically forfeit any cars or money involved, so some police cherry-pick valuable cars or SUVs.)
Nobody is going to ‘destroy’ anybody.Rockwall Tea Party founder John White
Yet Eavenson clearly said “he” and “him.” There are 23 men in the Texas Senate.
“It’s a little confusing, because clearly Sen. Burton is female,” said Sheriff’s Association of Texas government affairs chairman Andy Louderback of Jackson County.
“I have no idea who he was talking about. But we’re open to discussing good reforms.”
For the local lowdown, I asked Rockwall Tea Party founder John White, the online “Rockwall Conservative.”
“I don’t think the sheriff meant anything by it,” White said: “It was good-ol’-boy talk, an offhand remark. Nobody is going to ‘destroy’ anybody.”
Senate Bill 380 on asset forfeiture reform is pending in the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee.
He agrees with Burton on asset seizures because suspects “are just possible criminals, not yet convicted criminals.”
Police “take your money and then you have to prove it was yours lawfully,” White said: “Interstate 30 is the drug highway. The eastbound traffic is all drugs going to New York. Westbound — that’s money coming back. So police pull over more cars on the westbound side.”
Burton, who campaigned for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, may not be on Trump’s radar yet. But it’s not for lack of criticism, like this Jan. 1 tweet: “We would not accept rhetoric like this from [former President Barack] Obama, we must not accept it from Trump either. Enough of the #fakenews from everyone.”
Trump’s comments certainly may destroy someone’s career.