In a recording clandestinely made by a rightwing activist of Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R), the speaker laments that while he “loves” President Donald Trump, the President is “killing” his party in suburban districts.
According to local radio station WBAP, which obtained the recording, Bonnen emphasizes the importance of having the right Republicans in place to defeat Democratic challengers, and to “unload” members not able to do that.
The heart of the controversy here centers on activist Michael Quinn Sullivan claiming that Bonnen and since-resigned Republican caucus chairman Dustin Burrows gave him a list of Republican members to target with his powerful PAC in the primaries, in exchange for press credentials.
Certain Republicans have listened the recording, which has thus far been withheld from Democrats and the press for fear of how “damaging” it is to the Republican Party ahead of critical state elections.
Bonnen has long been calling for the recording’s release and responded to WBAP’s publication of a few quotes from the tape Tuesday.
“I have repeatedly called for the recording to be released because it will be immediately clear that no laws were broken,” Bonnen said in a statement to TPM. “This was nothing more than a political discussion – the problem is that I had it with that guy. My colleagues have always deserved the facts and context this recording provides, and with clear evidence now disproving allegations of criminal wrongdoing, the House can finally move on.”