Abbott Rallies Governors Against Lifting Iran Sanctions

Also, Land Commissioner George P. Bush will lead the state GOP's 2016 Victory fundraising efforts and the state launches a $2 million effort to raise awareness on the Zika virus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a Rotary Club of San Antonio luncheon on March 23, 2016.

Gov. Greg Abbott is asking every other governor in the United States to join Texas in rejecting President Barack Obama's call for states to lift their sanctions against Iran.

In a letter released Tuesday evening, Abbott urges his 49 counterparts across the country to "chart a similar path" to the one Texas has taken by resisting Obama's request for states to review their Iran sanctions. Abbott informed the White House earlier this month that Texas would not only keep its sanctions, but also that it would pursue further restrictions on investing and doing business in Iran.

"I write today to urge you to join me and demonstrate support for our allies in Israel by establishing, maintaining or strengthening your state’s sanctions against Iran," Abbott wrote to his fellow governors.

Abbott is a vocal opponent of Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran, a country he says cannot be trusted. Abbott reiterates that opposition in the letter released Tuesday, saying, "Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for 'death to America' and articulates anti-Semitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities."

Abbott's office also announced Tuesday evening that he had signed a letter condemning the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates such actions against Israel.

The "Governors Against BDS" letter, an initiative of the American Jewish Committee, calls the goals of the movement "antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states."

Abbott's pro-Israel moves came the same day he met with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer in Dallas, according to his office.

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a lot to say about the presidential race during an interview with Fox News on Thursday. The former candidate predicted that Donald Trump "will peel [Hillary Clinton's] skin off in a debate setting" and Ted Cruz will eventually endorse Trump. 

"We all get our feelings hurt," Perry said of Cruz. "This was a tough old race. Having been involved with it and having run for the presidency two times – it's not bean bag and you better have a thick skin."

Perry added that, "at the end of the day, this is about America" and "Senator Cruz loves this country. He's a great patriot and at the end of the day he's going to be helping the Republican nominee."

Perry's interview came after a speech Clinton gave earlier in the day that attacked Trump and his credibility for the presidency. When asked whether her criticisms would stick, Perry said they would have little effect on the presumptive Republican nominee. 

“I think it’s just off the skin of the duck, I mean off the back of a duck," Perry said. "It’s just water flowing out of her that’s not having any impact."

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The Texas GOP announced Tuesday afternoon that Land Commissioner George P. Bush will head up its efforts in the 2016 general election.

As 2016 Victory Chairman, Bush will organize and raise money for Texas Republicans on the ballot in November. The role was held in 2014 by Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick.

"I am honored to serve as Victory Chairman," Bush said in a statement. "I look forward to working with grassroots conservatives across the state as we keep Texas red on Election Day so that we can continue to showcase Texas as the most conservative state in America."

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The Texas Department of State Health Services announced last week a $2 million campaign to inform Texans what steps they should take to "not give Zika a biting chance."

The campaign will include public service announcements and advertisements with tips to avoid mosquitoes, with specific focus on people who travel to and from Latin America or other areas with a continuing threat of Zika. It will also seek to inform pregnant women due to the unique threat Zika poses to women who are infected while carrying a child.

The campaign will be paid for through federal public health emergency preparedness funds.