Six Trump donors Joaquin Castro tried to shame also gave to him and brother Julián
In attempting to embarrass constituents who donated to President Trump, Texas congressman Joaquin Castro appears to have overlooked the fact that six of those he named also gave cash to him and his twin brother, 2020 Democrat Julián Castro.
Joaquin Castro on Monday drew a torrent of criticism when the Twitter account operated by his reelection campaign listed 44 residents of San Antonio who donated the maximum amount to President Trump’s campaign for reelection so far this year.
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump — the owner of @BillMillerBarBQ, owner of the @HistoricPearl, realtor Phyllis Browning, etc.” the Monday tweet said. “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’”
Rep. Joaquin Castro and Julián Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary, are outspoken Trump critics. The brothers, 44, regularly denounce Trump for his administration’s immigration policies along the U.S.-Mexico border, and since this past weekend have laid blame on the president for the shootings in El Paso, Texas, which claimed 22 lives, and Dayton, Ohio, where nine were killed.
Joaquin Castro may be creating political liabilities for himself by alienating his own constituents and donor base, all in an effort to brand those very same political givers as effectively racist for backing Trump in 2020.
A Washington Examiner review of Federal Elections Committee filings found three individuals on the list who gave $5,600 to Trump, the maximum available by law for the primary and general election, and Joaquin Castro, a congressman from San Antonio who also leads the presidential campaign of his brother, a former San Antonio mayor.
Another three individuals on the list told the Washington Examiner that they supported Julián Castro’s mayoral campaigns. Julián Castro served as San Antonio mayor from 2009 to 2014, before being tapped as HUD secretary for the final two-and-a-half years of President Barack Obama’s administration.
The congressman’s approach left many of the San Antonio-area Trump donors on the list who gave to the Castro brothers angered and hurt.
“It is just amazing to me that he would do that,” said William Greehey, a philanthropist and former CEO of Valero Energy, who donated $5,000 to Joaquin Castro’s congressional campaign in 2013, covering the primary and general elections.
“Then he’s calling me a racist because I’m supporting Trump. I mean, this is just ridiculous.” said Greehey, who noted he started a $100 million homeless campus project that mostly serves Hispanic individuals. “There’s a lot of things you don’t like about the president and his tweeting, but here Castro is doing the same thing with his tweeting.”
Joaquin Castro did not respond to a request for comment through the presidential campaign of his brother, who, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, languishes in the Democratic field with 1% support.
Edward Steves, owner of a manufacturing firm that he said is the oldest company in San Antonio, told the Washington Examiner that he once hosted a fundraiser at his house that raised over $300,000 for Julián Castro’s mayoral campaign.
But Joaquin’s tweet and follow-up statements chastising local Trump donors may backfire for his own reelection races, Steves said.
“He’s probably got 44 people that are going to contribute heavily to whoever might run against him in the primaries,” Steves said.
Donald Kuyrkendall, president of a San Antonio commercial real estate company, shared concern about his family’s safety and wondered what the Castro brothers hoped to gain by the Twitter outing of Trump donors.
“Were his intentions to incite people to picket Bill Miller’s barbecue or to come to Don Kuyrkendall’s house, you know, assault my wife, make nasty comments?” Kuyrkendall said.
Kuyrkendall said that in wake of the tweet, his lawyer reminded him that he once donated to Julián Castro’s mayoral campaign.
“Life is short and this kind of silliness is not good for anybody, especially with the climate we have right now with two mass shootings in a weekend,” Kuyrkendall said. “There’s just no reason to highlight individuals and their companies as being some kind of, I don’t even know what he thinks we are, bad guys because we support Republicans?”
“I’m just hopeful that none of this gets serious and that my grandchildren and children will be not intimidated by this stuff,” Kuyrkendall said.
Wayne Harwell, who gave $1,000 Joaquin Castro in 2011, then a state representative who would win his House seat the next year, emphasized his enduring financial support for Trump.
“I sure will not give to Castro any more,” he said. “Trump has helped our country have economic prosperity. I support his efforts although I may not support each word, I like the results of his efforts for America.”
Ed Kelley, retired former president and CEO of USAA Real Estate, said that he supported Julián Castro’s mayoral campaign in the past and considers him a friend, though he does not know Joaquin that well. The tweet “did not leave a good taste in my mouth” and “was not something I appreciated,” Kelley said.
Gregory Kowalski, another individual on the list who gave $1,421 to Joaquin Castro’s campaign in 2011, did not respond to request for comment.