On Monday, Texas GOP representative Matt Rinaldi accused two Democrat reps of assault and death threats after a brief scuffle ensued on the state House floor over a new anti-sanctuary city bill.
According to The Blaze, illegal immigrant protesters were onsite demonstrating against Texas SB 4, which allows local police to question detainees on their legal status and punishes any law enforcement officer who refuses to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
Rinaldi informed the two Democrats that he had called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the protesters, some of whom carried signs that stated, “I am illegal and here to stay.” He reportedly called the demonstrators a “disgrace” and stated, “F*** them, I called ICE.” That’s when the pushing and shoving commenced.
According to Rep. Justin Rodriguez, the brother of one of the Democrats Rinaldi accused, the Republican threatened to “put a bullet in one of my colleague’s head.” But Rinaldi released a statement giving his account of what happened:
Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several immigrants who held signs in the gallery which read “I am illegal and here to stay.” Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues. During that time Poncho told me he would “get me on the way to my car.” He later approached me and reiterated that “I had to leave at some point, and he would get me.” I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, “get me,” I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.
NBC News’s Bradd Jaffy doesn’t think Rinaldi’s version of events accurately portrays what happened. He posted his preferred version to Twitter:
Rep. Nevarez also used Twitter to call Rinaldi “a liar and hateful man. Got no use for him. God bless him.”
Rep. Romero said he had “never seen anything like this on the House floor.”
Video of the event was posted to Twitter, although the details are tough to make out: