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July 7, 2020: As Texas COVID rate skyrockets, Chip Roy goes AWOL from TX-21

As COVID-19 infection rates soared in central Texas, with record-breaking numbers of new cases and hospitals exceeding capacity, Rep. Chip Roy deserted his district, taking a road trip to visit a series of East Coast tourist destinations.

In a series of tweets over the first week of July, Roy recorded himself traveling, sightseeing, and visiting his family in Maryland. Neither he nor anyone photographed with him wore a mask to prevent coronavirus spread. Roy claimed his holiday photos and videos were evidence that he was “standing up for America.”

Chip Roy hypes an immenent “threat” to DC monument as a woman pushes a stroller behind him.

He characterized Americans who have questioned Confederate monuments as “a Twitter mob,” to whom he would not “bow down”–even though none of the sites he tweeted from showed any evidence of protest.

As TX-21 residents looked for leadership in the midst of a public health disaster, Roy traipsed about the country, grandstanding and trying to stir up conflict between Americans. While Roy was on his solo “Stand Up For America” tour, 127 Texans died from the coronavirus. 

Roy’s public statements about COVID-19 have sought to minimize the disease’s impact, citing misleading information to falsely imply the disease is under control. With a current U.S. death toll of 133,000, the coronavirus has already killed twice as many Americans as the Revolutionary War that Roy is so obsessed with. His statue photo-ops were yet another attempt to distract Texans from the deaths and chaos mounting around us. They were also a clear-cut example of the lack of leadership that is causing so much unnecessary suffering in our country.

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April 3, 2020: Roy’s Conflict of Interest Grows as Kinder Morgan Pollutes TX-21 Water

Drilling by pipeline company Kinder Morgan recently polluted the water supplies of at least three homes in Hays County. The “Permian Highway Pipeline” will run across environmentally sensitive Hill Country land, including at least three counties in Texas’s 21st Congressional District. Kinder Morgan is taking land for the pipeline by eminent domain, and has been successfully sued for not paying landowners fair value for their property.

In response to the negligence that fouled his constituents’ water supply, Chip Roy wrote a remarkably toothless letter to the company, politely inquiring what had happened.

Chip Roy letter to Kinder Morgan

One possible reason Roy is so friendly with the company that is tainting his constituents’ water: he owns stock in it. Roy’s ownership of Kinder Morgan stock was reported in the Financial Disclosure forms he is required to file with the House of Representatives. According to his most recent filing, in July 2019, Roy owns up to $15,000 worth of stock in Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI).

Roy’s extremely polite letter to the company he’s invested in calls the water contamination “concerning,” while praising Kinder Morgan for being “very responsive to my previous correspondence” (on what topic, he does not divulge). Poisoning Texans’ drinking water is “unacceptable,” Roy says, adding meekly, “I hope you would agree.”

Roy closes his letter by assuring Kinder Morgan that even Texans whose water is being polluted “support American energy independence and the development of Texas’s oil and gas resources to the benefit of society.” He says he wants answers about the pollution, but he’s not in any hurry. He’ll settle for a response “at your earliest convenience.”

After all, he wouldn’t want to slow down any of the dividend checks Kinder Morgan might send him.

 

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April 4, 2020: Roy Pushes Disastrous Plan to End COVID-19 Health Precautions

In a March 20th editorial in the National Review, Roy called for “a quick date certain” to “save our economy” by ending the social distancing protocols for COVID-19. Picking a “Coronavirus D-Day” is, according to Roy, “The most important thing we need to do — right now.”

Even though President Trump himself has backed off from his initial desire to “open the country up” by Easter, and is urging Americans to “stay at home and save lives,” Roy has doubled down on his foolhardy plan, tweeting on April 3rd that “We must announce a date to signal our economic restart,” and demanding the country abandon social distances protocols immediately:

It’s clear we will eventually need to lift stay-at-home orders. But the consensus from healthcare professionals and epidemiologists is also clear: lifting stay-at-home protocols too early will worsen and lengthen the devastation of COVID-19—including its economic impact. Changes to social distancing policies must be carefully weighed, and shouldn’t be made at all until we have better data about the spread of the disease.

Yet despite this clear advice, and despite the horrific examples we can see unfolding in other countries that have not locked down, Roy is remarkably vague about when his “Coronavirus D-Day” should be scheduled, or how it should be calculated. “Perhaps that date should be around April 1,” he mused at the end of March. “Perhaps it should be April 15.” Any pertinent details are irrelevant to Roy; he just wants a date, fast: “In consultation with our nation’s health experts, the federal government must announce a date within the coming weeks, no later.”

Perhaps Chip himself ought to consult “our nation’s health experts,” who have warned that COVID-19 will kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, even with social distancing measures. Ending those measures “within coming weeks, no later,” is at best a pipe dream and at worst a reckless, suicidal proposal. Either way, it is unhelpful, and serves only to distract from the real work of managing this crisis.

“Date certain,” Roy’s official-sounding term for his imaginary COVID-19 victory party, is a legal term used to refer to a contractually binding date. But viruses don’t sign contracts. They aren’t impressed by legal jargon or WWII references.

“All our national leaders need to work to ensure that we have the medical challenges of the pandemic under control,” Roy wrote in the National Review, “and that we can quickly bridge the financial gap before us. We cannot achieve success without declaring a D-Day for the coronavirus, and marshaling all our collective energies toward restarting our economy.”

As usual, Chip wants to talk like a leader, but expects others to do the hard work.

 

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March 27, 2020: Roy Praises Delay of COVID-19 Stimulus Bill, Skips Vote

As the House of Representatives prepared to vote on a $2 trillion emergency stimulus bill for relief from the economic impact of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, Chip Roy was quick to defend his friend Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky), who took a page from Chip’s playbook and demanded a roll call vote. Massie’s action required all Representatives to fly back to Washington to vote on the bill in person—at a time when curtailing travel is vital to control the pandemic’s spread across America.

Roy took to Twitter to praise Massie’s stubborn endangerment of his fellow Americans, calling him “one of the most principled men in Congress.” Roy also took the opportunity to portray himself as a maverick who is even willing to oppose the President, telling Donald Trump to “back off” his criticism of Massie.

But as usual, Chip’s tough-talking defense of the Constitution was just posturing, intended to get him in the news. He did not even bother to return to Washington, and did not vote on the bill. He claimed he could not get a flight, even though readily available flights were pointed out to him on Twitter. He was happy for Massie to endanger other Representatives, but too much of a coward to expose himself to the same risk. 

Chip Roy clearly loves media attention even more than he loves the Constitution.

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January 3, 2020: Chip Roy Flip-flops on Congressional Oversight of U.S. Warfare

In September 2019, Rep. Roy published an editorial in The Hill, arguing that Congress needed to assert its Constitutional authority to end our decades-long involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts. Congress, Roy wrote, has “abdicated its solemn responsibility under Article 1. Congress needs to come to a consensus regarding which threats and entities necessitate military action, or other appropriate responses.” (“Wars must end — Congress should clarify our mission in the Middle East,” Chip Roy, September 18 2019)  

But just months later, when President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020, Roy was quick to show his belly. He issued a press release lauding the President for carrying out the lethal drone strike without notifying Congress, and accused Congressional Democrats—the very same people he said in September should be overseeing U.S. armed conflict—of “hand-wringing about President Trump’s authority.” (“Rep. Chip Roy On The Death Of Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani,” Press Release, January 3, 2020) 

Once again, Roy tries to have it both ways: He signals servile obedience to Trump and provides cover for his bad leadership, while still claiming to be a defender of the Constitution.

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November 22, 2019: Chip Roy Rejects U.S. Intelligence, Embraces Russian Disinformation

Despite unanimous agreement among America’s national security experts that stories of Ukrainian election-meddling are “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services,” Roy has fully embraced the Russian conspiracy theories.

“I do think there is ample evidence of Ukraine having engagement and involvement with things talking about a 2016 election,” Roy told the press. “I think there is more than enough evidence on that.” In fact, U.S. intelligence officials know, and have told Congress, that Russian intelligence officers concocted and spread these false stories.

Roy has tried to blame both Russia and Ukraine for electoral interference.  He wants to have it both ways, acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that Russia is attacking our elections, while parroting and amplifying the Russian attacks. His actions are not those of an American who protects and defends his country.

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July 25, 2019: Chip Roy storms out of House Oversight hearing

Roy became angry in a July House Oversight hearing on White House work communications sent via personal email and cellphones, in violation of federal laws governing White House recordkeeping. When Rep. Gerald Connolly pushed back on his criticism of the committee’s subpoenas of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Roy began complaining loudly about drug cartels on the Mexican border and then angrily stormed out of the room. The committee voted 23-16 to approve the subpoenas.

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April 4, 2019: Chip Roy Votes “No” on the Violence Against Women Act

Showing more concern for the NRA than for women, Roy was the only member of San Antonio’s Congressional delegation to vote against re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Roy claimed that parts of the bill that would prevent convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns would “attack our god-given rights.” Roy was subsequently asked directly by constituents to produce Biblical texts showing that God intended convicted domestic abusers to own firearms. He declined to answer.

Nearly half of all women murdered in the U.S. are killed by a boyfriend or partner. Roy was also asked by constituents if he felt these deaths were God’s will. He again declined to answer.

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May 24, 2019: Chip Roy Delays Disaster Aid to Texans, Makes GOP Enemies

In May, Chip Roy held $19 billion in disaster aid hostage so he could score some free publicity.

Roy used a procedural rule to block passage of a bipartisan bill designed to help victims of wildfires and storms. He gave different reasons to different media outlets, sometimes saying that he objected to a voice vote for the bill, and sometimes saying he was upset that funding for a border wall hadn’t been included. Chip clearly enjoyed the media attention his stalling maneuver earned for him. But it caused rifts in his own party.

Republican Rep. Austin Scott of Florida called Roy and his assistants “clowns”:

“It’s theater and grandstanding, it’s all it is. It’s not even a principled stand,” Scott said. “They’re not trying to negotiate a resolution. They’re just acting up.”

Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger called Chip’s actions a “political stunt.”

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia tweeted, “This is yet another example of politicians putting their own self-interest ahead of the national interest. It’s pathetic that some members have chosen this moment to grandstand & get into the national headlines.”

Eventually, the bill was passed, by an overwhelming margin of 354-58. Rep. Roy’s theatrics did nothing but delay much-needed disaster help, and stoke discord, for no good reason.

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May 12, 2019: In “Red-faced Meltdown,” Chip Roy Defends Big Pharma Profiteering

At a House Oversight Committee probing the high price of the HIV prevention drug Truvada, Roy declared himself “offended” when Rep. Katie Hill questioned the drugmaker’s CEO about his recent “signing bonus” of $30 million. Roy called the question “an attack [on] the capitalistic system” and said he was “really glad” about the company’s obscene profits–“And I hope they make a lot more!”