Convention Intelwars Lawsuit Mayor sylvester turner sue Texas gop

Texas GOP sues Democratic Houston mayor for canceling their convention

The Republican Party of Texas has filed a lawsuit against Democratic Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, saying he singled them out and shut down their gathering out of political motivation.

What are the details?

The Texas GOP was notified Wednesday that they could no longer hold their convention slated for next week in Houston, after the mayor instructed the city’s legal department to coordinate with the venue’s owner, Houston First Corporation, to scrap its contract for the gathering over coronavirus fears.

Republicans called Turner’s move “a political stunt,” and accused him of hypocrisy given the mayor’s participation in George Floyd protests involving thousands of people weeks earlier.

The next day, the party filed a lawsuit against Turner, the City of Houston, Houston First Corporation, and its CEO seeking a court order allowing the in-person convention to go on as planned. If the court does not respond in time and the event is still canceled, the plaintiffs are seeking $1 million in damages.

In a statement explaining the legal action, the Republican Party of Texas stated:

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s use of the Force Majeure clause is just a pretext to his intent to treat the Republican Party of Texas differently than other groups, such as those we have seen from recent protests in the city of Houston. It should go without saying that a political viewpoint cannot be the basis for unequal treatment. Mayor Turner publicly stated his intention to interrupt the convention process and disenfranchise Republicans around the state, and yesterday he put his scheme into action.

The lawsuit argues that “mere pandemic is not sufficient to warrant cancellation of the Convention,” and “the Convention is an exercise of the fundamental right of Freedom of Assembly” under the Constitution.

Mayor Turner stated on Twitter:

No one wanted to politicize the decision to cancel the (Republican) convention. The medical association, Greater Houston Partnership, and their sponsors wrote letters asking the party to cancel their in-person convention and make it virtual.

The public health concern for our first responders, convention workers, and those who would have attended weighed heavily in our decision making. Houston is in the midst of a global health crisis and we are doing everything in our power to combat #COVID19.

In regards to comparing the marches and protests to the convention: ‘If people want to march from (venue) George R. Brown to City Hall, that’s your right. It’s a different thing when you’re taking (sic) about an indoor convention and people are in close proximity.’

The mayor added, “When people are marching or demonstrating, they are walking, they are moving. Nobody is making their breakfast or serving them. If you want to march and protest, you are assuming responsibility for yourself and those around you.”

GOP Convention Houston Intelwars Mayor sylvester turner Texas

Democratic Houston mayor shuts down Texas GOP convention over COVID — after he marched in protests

Democratic Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has taken action to assure the shutdown of the Texas Republican Party’s state convention slated for next week, saying the risk of an in-person meeting is just too great due to the threat of COVID-19.

But GOP leaders are calling the move purely “a political stunt,” calling out the mayor for hypocrisy after he participated in large demonstrations just weeks ago following the death of George Floyd.

What are the details?

Mayor Turner announced during a press conference Wednesday that health officials had expressed their concerns to him over the GOP’s upcoming gathering, so he asked the city attorney to step in. The legal department reached out to Houston First—which owns the venue where thousands were expected to attend the convention scheduled July 16 through July 18—and convinced the corporation to cancel the Republicans’ contract.

“These are some very serious times,” Turner said during the news briefing. “Simply, the public health concerns outweighed anything else.”

The Texas Tribune reported that when Turner was asked why he waited until the week before the convention was supposed to happen to intervene, he replied, “This is a political convention, and the last thing you want to do in the midst of a pandemic is to politicize it or make it seem like you are going out of your way to close the door.”

But that is exactly what some Republicans believe Turner has done.

Paul Simpson, the chair of the Harris County GOP, told The Tribune that Turner’s move was a “hypocritical flip flop on public gatherings” and “a political stunt.”

“While he joined in massive marches in the streets last month, he has now blocked Republican grassroots activists from peaceably assembling even under the most strong health safeguards,” Simpson said. “The mayor should not abuse power for political ends.”

Anything else?

In the meantime, the Texas GOP is looking at alternative options. The Washington Examiner reported that the party voted last week to “allow a virtual convention as a backup plan should the event be canceled,” and a Montgomery County judge has offered to hold the convention at a venue in his community.