The Texas Republican Party reaffirmed its commitment to the First Amendment and “free speech platforms” on Thursday after the state’s Republican governor accused Gab.com of anti-Semitism.
The party’s response followed a request from the vice-chairman, Cat Parks, for the party to drop its Gab account.
The controversy began Wednesday when Gov. Greg Abbott said while commenting on bill in the state legislature: “Anti-Semitic platforms like Gab have no place in Texas, and certainly do not represent Texas values.”
Gab founder Andrew Torba reacted on his platform to the governor’s comments in a video posted on Twitter.
“Folks, the level of attack we are under right now in this spiritual war has never been greater,” Torba said. “We are facing media smears, literal demon hackers, banks banning us, and now the Governor of Texas for some reason smearing our community of millions of people.”
WND asked the governor’s office by telephone and email for comment, but received no response.
Following the governor’s comments, Parks issued a statement alleging the GOP’s Gab account included “anti-Semitic and racist tropes.”
“We cannot allow the Republican Party of Texas’ page on Gab to be a corkboard for anti-American values,” he said without citing any offensive comments. “The Republican Party of Texas will not tolerate anti-Semitism and racism to proliferate under our watch. The Democrats may struggle to denounce blatant anti-Semitism from their own lawmakers, but Republicans in Texas do not share that issue.”
Big League Politics pointed out that the Texas GOP had promoted its GAB account in January:
We’re on Gab! pic.twitter.com/7KJ64xPBcu
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) January 23, 2021
On Wednesday, the party issued its statement on Twitter in support of Gab in response to the governer’s remarks.
“The RPT will always fight censorship. We support the 1st Amendment, including free speech platforms & VC @CatParksTX’s right to criticize such. Texas GOP has no plan to deplatform from any of our social media accounts. The 1st Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State.”
The RPT will always fight censorship. We support the 1st Amendment, including free speech platforms & VC @CatParksTX‘s right to criticize such. TexasGOP has no plan to deplatform from any of our social media accounts. The 1st Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State pic.twitter.com/mDsEb5hCYa
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) March 11, 2021
When Abbott made the comment Wednesday, he was flanked by state Reps. Phil King and Craig Goldman, citing the lawmakers’ work on a bill.
The Federalist noted it’s unclear which legislation Abbott was referencing, although Goldman recently introduced a bill discussing the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Advisory Committee. In the video, Abbott is shown sitting near an Israeli flag.
Torba, a Christian, said Gab is not an anti-Semitic platform.
“We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture nobody else will. That means unpopular viewpoints may be found on the site,” he said.
“There are many Jewish Gab users and customers, whose lawful speech we protect with just as much zeal as we would protect the lawful speech of any person of any faith, ethnicity, or creed.”
Torba said America “used to be like: a place where The People could speak freely regardless of their faith, ethnic background, or beliefs.”
“This is the America Gab is fighting to preserve. Apparently, Gov. Abbott doesn’t agree,” he said.
Torba urged Gab users to “kindly keep us in your daily prayers and if you can please consider upgrading to GabPRO, making a donation, or a purchase from our shop to support us.”
“We are funded by people like you and we need your support now more than ever to fight off these attacks.”
The governor’s claim:
Anti-Semitic platforms do not represent Texas values.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 11, 2021
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