Texas state Rep. Michelle Beckley (D) has friends in high places — Texas A&M, to be exact. And it’s through her participation in the so-called “Aggie Caucus,” named for the school’s students and alums, that she got the details on just how Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R) insulted her during a meeting now preserved on tape.
The recording, made by right-wing activist Michael Sullivan, has only been played for Republicans so far, out of fear that the speaker saying “terrible things” about members of his own caucus will become ammunition for Democrats in the upcoming elections. So, Beckley reached out to her Republican Aggie friends who had listened to it.
“I haven’t heard the recording,” she told TPM Wednesday. “We did ask for it but we were denied by [Sullivan’s group] Empower Texans. But multiple people said it was really, really bad what he said about me.”
“I think he attacked LGBTQ people, and he attacked me as a woman as well,” she continued. “I did get the sense that it was very misogynistic.”
Beckley’s perception of Bonnen’s alleged misogyny was deepened when she found out that he had apologized individually to every Republican and male Democrat he insulted on the recording — but didn’t call her.
“He’s had plenty of time to reach out to me,” she said. “Originally, one of my staffers even reached out to his office — they did not reply.”
Beckley tweeted Wednesday, demanding an individual apology from Bonnen. His office did not respond to her tweets, or TPM’s request for comment.
“I think he’s going to be ousted,” Beckley said. “When I read the first thing about this, I was like ‘yeah, he’s gonna be ousted.’”
She said that Republican caucus chairman Dustin Burrows, who was also in the meeting and, according to Sullivan’s claims, handed over a list of Republicans for Sullivan to target with his super PAC during the primaries, has flown under the radar amid the fallout.
“Nobody’s really talking about Burrows so much,” Beckley said. “Bonnen will probably not be speaker after this, but he probably will be reelected. He’s been there forever, and he and Burrows are in pretty safe Republican districts.”
“I don’t think Bonnen or Burrows will be in positions of power after this though,” she added. “People are not happy with this situation.”
She said that though she “doesn’t know all the Republican drama,” a commonality with the GOP members put on the target list is a more moderate leaning and their support of the former speaker, Joe Straus.
“My biggest thing is whatever the reason that Bonnen had this conversation, that he didn’t think he was being recorded given who he had this conversation with — just the sheer stupidity in that means I couldn’t vote for him for speaker again at this point,” she laughed dryly. “There are so many levels of why he can’t be speaker.”