You are here

Lone Star Project Report

Greg Abbott’s Fearful Failure to Lead During Jade Helm 15 Controversy

It is difficult to accurately describe or fully comprehend the failure in leadership displayed by Governor Greg Abbott over the past week.

The unwillingness of Governor Abbott to quickly voice his unqualified support for U.S. troops who will train in Texas as part of the Jade Helm 15 exercises is shocking. Abbott and local officials had been fully informed and briefed about the exercises. Yet he raised no public concerns about the scheduled training until the matter became the subject of right wing talk radio and online chatter.

Rather than rise to the defense of our troops and calm the fears and irrational notions of activists within his political base, Governor Abbott chose to fearfully reinforce the uninformed while betraying our men and women in uniform.

Below is a summary of news coverage of the Jade Helm 15 controversy and how Governor Abbott sank to the occasion, failing to provide even the minimum level of judgement and leadership expected of a Governor of our great state.

The governor is pandering
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial Board, 4/30/2015
"It is irresponsible for Abbott to even remotely suggest, or be perceived to buy into the notion, that Jade Helm 15 is designed to infringe on Texans’ rights. That’s pandering at its worst, a sign of poor leadership."

David Dewhurst: Suspicion of our own troops must stop
David Dewhurst, Dallas Morning News, 4/30/2015
"Instead of viewing our hard-working troops with suspicion or greeting them with insults, let’s increase our prayers for them and their families as we send a message of welcome and encouragement. Let’s stand together and open our arms in grateful support for U.S. Special Forces and the other units who will participate in their training. When they arrive, they should be greeted by a freshly-swept welcome mat, not suspicion and angry protest. Our nation’s finest deserve our best, and they’ll get it from this Texan."

Former GOP lawmaker blisters Abbott for ‘pandering to idiots’ over military exercises
Christy Hoppe, Dallas Morning News, 4/30/2015
"A 16-year Republican veteran of the Legislature wrote Gov. Greg Abbott saying he is appalled that the governor has given credence to a fringe group that fears the U.S. military would stage a take-over of Texas...In his letter to the governor, Todd Smith of Euless, who retired from public office in 2013, said he is 'horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my Governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my Governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do.'"

Cringe-worthy order is fuel for the fringe
Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, 5/1/2015
"There were better ways that Abbott might have handled this fuss without responding so overtly to Internet fearmongers. What’s called for is a voice of calm and reason. Measured words, not words that professional conspiracy nuts can twist to serve their own mercenary purposes."

Support our troops, huh?
Bill Whitaker, Waco Tribune-Herald, 5/3/2015
"If you believe politicians are defined by an ability to speak out of both sides of their mouths, Abbott’s in the right game. In his letter to state military brass, he professes 'utmost respect for the deep patriotism of the brave military men and women who put their lives on the line,' yet at the same time Abbott plays to the mob by expressing concern about any infringement of Texans’ 'safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties.'"

Conspiracy theorists: At the top?
San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board, 5/4/2015
"If the governor was worried simply about exercises endangering life and property, he might have clearly — and solely — said that. So, no one would have a problem with that part of a letter directing the State Guard to 'ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed about military procedures occurring in their vicinity.' But, he added: 'During the training session, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed'...Because of a special forces military exercise? Informed by the state’s own military? How will they do that? The bigger question: Why is there even a need?"