Local Texas GOP Chairwoman Uses Social Media To Promote Fake News And Hate Crimes
Texas Republicans should denounce this behavior from local leadership or risk it becoming the new normal
Lisa Hendrickson was elected chairwoman of the Denton County Republican Party in early 2016 and promised a positive approach to guiding the county’s GOP.
“I want to create an environment that is conducive to dreaming,” Hendrickson told the Denton Record Chronicle last February.
Hendrickson’s behavior on social media, however, has not matched her rhetoric prior to the election.
As leader of the local party, Hendrickson has used Facebook and Twitter to promote discredited news stories, jokingly suggest killing protesters, and attack Muslim citizens.
In December 2016, Hendrickson re-tweeted a post on Twitter that claimed American Muslims “will never assimilate.” The following month she told a Twitter user “many refugees want us dead,” and urged a Facebook follower to not “forget the scriptures that tell them to wipe out those that oppose Jehovah.”
“…make sure if you want to quote the Word, don’t forget the scriptures that tell them to wipe out those that oppose Jehovah.”
-Denton County GOP Chairwoman Lisa Hendrickson responding to a constituent who quoted Scripture to oppose President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
A recent study by the Cato Institute found no refugees have been implicated in a terrorist attack since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.
Despite the lack of evidence of foreign born Muslims committing terrorist attacks, recent articles suggest there has been a rise in Muslim harassment in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The animosity toward local Muslims has been inflamed by fire breathing rhetoric from local politicians such as Hendrickson.
The United States Census Bureau shows that 14.3% of residents in Denton County are foreign born, roughly 109,000 people.
Hendrickson also uses her platform to spread fake news about voter fraud and undocumented immigrants. In a tweet to University of North Texas Political Scientist Elizabeth Oldmixon, Hendrickson claimed there were “1st hand reports” of “illegal immigrants” and dead people voting in Denton County, but did not publicly provide any evidence to support her assertion.
Six days before the 2016 Presidential election, Hendrickson posted a picture on Facebook of what appears to be Denton County Constable Tim Burch, an elected official, with a handcuffed young male wearing a Hillary Clinton mask and a t-shirt reading “Hillary for Prison.”
The picture raises questions about two elected officials using taxpayer funded county property to make a political statement.
In addition to her own posts, Hendrickson frequently re-tweets and shares articles containing false information. One article recently shared by Hendrickson claimed Hillary Clinton was meeting with handicapped children in the 1980s when she told her advisor to “get those fucking retards out of here.” The article from Patriot Nation does not provide evidence for this outlandish claim.
Other easily debunked articles shared by Hendrickson include a video that purports to show a van full of illegal immigrants voting for Clinton and multiple articles that use long discredited information to accuse Clinton aide Huma Abedin of being a “radical Islamic” terrorist.
The articles Hendrickson shared about Abedin are particularly questionable because the evidence provided appears to be solely based on Abedin being of Pakistani and Indian descent.
Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Republican Senator John McCain referred to her in 2012 as “an intelligent, upstanding, hard-working and loyal servant of our country and our government.”
The GOP chairwoman’s social media accounts are full of contradictions, including even her support for President Trump.
In recent months Hendrickson has emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal backers in the Dallas Fort Worth area. She has appeared on the local NBC affiliate multiple times to defend Trump and his policies.
This appears to be at odds with her position during the Republican primaries when she was critical of Trump and shared material criticizing him for claiming that being grand marshal of New York’s Israel Day parade counted as foreign policy experience. She even re-posted a link from Texas State Senator Konni Burton in December 2015 taking Clinton’s side in an argument with Trump.
Hendrickson shared a link in February of last year disparaging former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for suggesting Trump should not release his tax returns.
In October, during the general election, Huckabee again asked if Trump should release his tax returns and Hendrickson seemingly reversed her position, tweeting to him “focus on the tax returns Bill & Hillary [sic] that were never released instead.”
Hendrickson uses her social media accounts as a vehicle of misinformation, anger, and contradictions. It reflects a lack of decency and shows she is not fit to lead a major political party in the ninth largest county in Texas.
In this era of rank partisanship, Denton County and Texas Republicans are probably willing to overlook that.