The Brief: Latest Trump Attacks Draw Big Democratic Backlash

A Texas congressman becomes one of the leading voices in the push by Democratic leaders against the presumptive GOP presidential nominee's comments on the judge hearing the Trump University case.

Republican front runner Donald Trump savors the surprise endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie during a press conference in Fort Worth on Feb. 26, 2016.

The Big Conversation

Democratic leaders across the country voiced outrage on Monday after the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump questioned the objectivity of a judge overseeing litigation relating to Trump University because of the judge's Mexican heritage. 

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat from Brownsville, used the opportunity to bash Trump on other comments he has made about Mexicans – including his plan to build a border wall, the Tribune's Abby Livingston wrote.

"Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass," Vela wrote in an open letter to Trump. 

Trump didn't just face backlash from Texas lawmakers. The New York Times' Patrick Healy, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin wrote: "In an unusually coordinated series of attacks leveled from congressional offices and the Senate floor, in state capitols and sidewalk protests, Democrats excoriated Mr. Trump as racist and demanded that Republicans either stand behind his comments or condemn him and even rescind their endorsements of his candidacy."

In Texas, Republicans have been slow to warm to Trump and their willingness to give money to his campaign has warmed even more slowly. The Tribune's Patrick Svitek wrote that although Republican donors are starting to come around to the real estate mogul, "they are anything but unanimous in their support" for Trump.

Trump is hoping to change these numbers and he is expected to attend fundraisers in Dallas and Houston in June. So far, his campaign has attracted financial backing from Dallas investor Ray Washburne, San Antonio car dealer Red McCombs and Gaylord Hughey, an oil and gas attorney from Tyler.

Eric Beach, co-chair of the Great America PAC, said Texas donors have been cautious so far when making contributions, all with the goal of beating the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"The great thing about Texans is that there’s a lot of pride there, and this isn’t their first rodeo and they have to know there’s a good path to beating a very viable opponent," Beach said.

Trib Must Reads

Texans in Congress Have Few Weeks to Tackle Big Issues, by Abby Livingston — Funding to combat the Zika virus. Restructuring Puerto Rico's debt. And, oh yeah, keeping the government running. Congress has a short period to tackle some big issues. In nearly every battle, Texans are playing major roles.

With Uber and Lyft Gone, Ride-Hailing Startups Swarm Austin, by Madlin Mekelburg – Less than a month after Uber and Lyft left Austin over the city's regulations, at least six new companies offering similar services have launched in the city and are fighting for market share.

Texas Republicans Ask Obama, Congress for Zika Help, by Edgar Walters – Texas' top Senate Republicans on Monday upped the urgency on federal policymakers to do something about the Zika virus.

District Attorney Drops Conviction Against Man in 1977 Murder, by Johnathan Silver – Since 1977, prosecutors have said Kerry Max Cook raped, murdered and mutilated Linda Jo Edwards. On Monday, they set aside the conviction following claims of misconduct and DNA evidence tying another man to the crime.

Woman Fighting 1993 Murder Conviction Gets a Key Victory, by Terri Langford – A judge has ruled that a West Texas woman convicted of setting her uncle on fire is innocent of murder, basing his decision on new analysis of evidence presented at her 1993 trial. Sonia Cacy has been on parole since 1998.

Trump to Visit Texas for Fundraising, by Patrick Svitek – Donald Trump is making his first trip to Texas as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. 

Supreme Court to Take Up Two Texas Death Penalty Cases, by Johnathan Silver – The cases of death row inmates Duane Buck and Bobby James Moore will be heard next term.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Texas county bans patrol car crosses to settle atheist lawsuitAustin American-Statesman

Falfurrias mayor pro tem pleads guilty in gambling stingCorpus Christi Caller Times

Last known living 9/11 search dog dies in Texas at age 16, The Associated Press

HISD auditor says he was suspended for being whistleblowerHouston Chronicle

Mark Cuban: 'Desperate' Donald Trump not worth $10 billion, The Dallas Morning News

Two South Texas Police Academies Investigated for Brutality, Texas Standard

Federal oil reserve at a crossroadsHouston Chronicle

Jim Wells considers family detention centerCorpus Christi Caller-Times

Interim Baylor president 'fully committed to presenting the truth' after scandalHouston Chronicle

A year after McKinney pool party, teen slammed by cop speaks up: ‘People still say rude things’, The Dallas Morning News

John Oliver buys and forgives $15 million in debt, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass."

 — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, in an open letter to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee

News From Home

•  We've updated the Tribune's Government Salaries Explorer with new data for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Katy ISD and Midwestern State University. College Station ISD and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center are new additions.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin