Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday went further in defending his request that the State Guard to monitor a planned U.S. military training exercise in the Lone Star state, arguing that he was trying to “calm” residents whose distrust of President Barack Obama morphed into conspiracy theories about “Jade Helm 15.”
Earlier last week, Abbott said that he’d asked the State Guard to monitor the training exercise simply to facilitate communication between Texas residents and visiting troops. Citing his state’s deep ties to the armed forces, Abbott said Friday that his office has been in communication with the military about “Jade Helm 15.”
“We have the greatest assurances that these are normal military operations,” he said, as quoted by local TV station KXAN. “They’re going to work out just fine.”
Abbott also echoed Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in arguing that Texans’ distrust of President Barack Obama was influencing their perceptions of “Jade Helm 15.” But Abbott argued that those perceptions were “misplaced” and said that he was trying to “instill a sense of calm” for Texans, according to KXAN.
“I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence,” Abbott said, as quoted by the news station. “We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been. And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”