President Donald Trump invited a wave of speculation Tuesday when he volunteered to "destroy" the career of a unnamed Texas state senator in response to a state sheriff's complaint about the lawmaker.
Trump's remark came during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House that included Rockwall County's Harold Eavenson. When Trump asked the group for input on how to improve law enforcement, Eavenson spoke up.
"Asset forfeiture," Eavenson replied. "We’ve got a state senator in Texas that’s talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we can receive that forfeiture money and I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed."
“Who’s the state senator?” Trump asked, getting no answer from a demurring Eavenson. “Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career."
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Hours after the exchange, it was still unclear to whom Eavenson, a Republican, was referring. He was not immediately available for comment.
State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, represents Rockwall County in the Senate. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Eavenson appeared to be speaking about civil asset forfeiture, a practice some state senators have called for reforming during this year's legislative session, including state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, who filed Senate Bill 380 in December, and state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who filed Senate Bill 156 in November.
"I don’t know the sheriff," Hinojosa told reporters at the Texas Capitol. "I never met the sheriff. Any person who wants to discuss any piece of legislation with me can come in and talk to me."
The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.