On Wednesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) was called out by MSNBC host Willie Geist for doxxing Trump supporters in his district following the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that left 22 dead and injured dozens more. Castro, who is the brother of former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and the campaign chairman of his brother’s 2020 presidential campaign, shifted blame for the doxxing, weakly telling Geist he “didn’t make the graphic” that exposed the names and employers of 44 individual San Antonio Trump donors. The donor list that Castro doxxed included retirees and homemakers.
“What do you say to those people this morning who said, I made a campaign donation and now I’m gonna be harassed; I’m gonna have people protesting outside my business or perhaps even my home?” Geist asked Castro. “Do you want them to repent for their support for Donald Trump or, what do you want from them?”
“Well, the first thing is, I don’t want anybody harassed or targeted —”
“But they will be,” Geist interrupted, “because you put their names in public.”
“Look, that was not my intention,” Castro answered.
“But that’s what will happen,” the MSNBC host stated flatly.
“These things are public,” argued the Texas congressman. “No, what I would like for them to do is think twice about supporting a guy who is fueling hate in this country.”
“Congressman, do you agree that in this culture — and believe me, I make no equivalency to what Donald Trump’s doing; we’re on the record on this show three hours a morning about the ads that they’re putting about, about the rhetoric that he uses — but if you agree that rhetoric can lead to incitement, even if it just triggers one person to do something terrible, does it give you any pause about putting these people’s names out in public?”
“Well, Willie, they’re already public, they’re already out there,” deflected Castro.
But Geist pressed again, “There are 11 retirees and one homemaker who are not public.”
Castro — a powerful member of Congress with a Twitter platform with over 200,000 followers (the Democrat quote-tweeted the graphic on his personal account, too) — shifted blame for the doxxing. “And this was already circulating, I shared it, so I didn’t create the graphic.”
It’s notable that Castro not only doxxed the Trump donors when he did, but he dangerously tied them to the bloody El Paso massacre. “Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump — the owner of [redacted], owner of the [redacted], realtor [redacted], etc.,” he wrote. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.'”
Castro’s irresponsible tweet is still up on Twitter and he has only doubled down further since the initial backlash. For example, when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pressed the congressman about the tweet, Castro responded: “No one was targeted or harassed in my post. You know that. All that info is routinely published. You’re trying to distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP and the fact that President Trump spends donor money on thousands of ads about Hispanics ‘invading’ America.” He added, “Donald Trump has put a target on the back of millions. And you’re too cowardly or agreeable to say anything about it. How about I stop mentioning Trump’s public campaign donors and he stops using their money for ads that fuel hate?”