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Republicans claim Texas Democrat will “divert military money for transgender re-assignment surgeries”

NRCC ad attacking Gina Ortiz Jones "cites" an article that doesn't even mention transgender issues

Gina Ortiz Jones – Photo: Facebook

The National Republican Campaign Committee is lobbing an anti-transgender attack ad against a Democrat seeking a Republican-held congressional seat in Texas.

The ad, running in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, attacks Gina Ortiz Jones, who is a lesbian, as “too liberal for Texas.” The ad takes some of Jones’s stances on various issues and misrepresents them, criticizing her for allegedly supporting the Green New Deal, which they say would kill Texas oil and gas jobs.

It also accuses Jones of wanting to close military bases and “divert military money for transgender reassignment surgeries,” concluding she “doesn’t care about Texas.”

On the transgender front, the article cited in small print at the bottom of the ad is from the Aug. 3, 2017 edition of the San Antonio Express-News.

Nowhere in the article does it mention transgender issues, nor Jones’s previously stated opposition to President Trump’s ban on transgender military members.

Besides mentioning Jones’s military career, the only reference the article even makes to the military is the following: 

“Jones is a first-generation American and a former Air Force intelligence officer. She said she will work to protect people’s health care and the environment. As a veteran, she said she won’t oppose or vote against the wishes of the U.S. secretary of defense.

“‘I know that national security starts at home. It starts with the type of opportunities that I had – the type of opportunities that allow our most vulnerable to become our most promising,’ Jones said Wednesday. “And those opportunities are protected or erased based on how people vote in D.C.'”

Much of the ad seems to be drawn from talking points listed on an NRCC opposition research website, which previously gained attention when it trumpeted the fact that Jones is a lesbian and lived with her partner in the Washington, D.C. area before returning to her home state of Texas.

One of the talking points from that site claims that Jones supports “using taxpayer money to pay for gender re-assignment surgery,” which itself comes from talking points spouted by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) when she introduced a bill in 2017 seeking to ban transgender military veterans from having their health care expenses paid by insurance.

Even though the cost of such care would constitute “little more than a rounding error in the military’s $47.8 billion health care budget,” according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, Republicans frequently repeat the talking point and overestimate the cost of transgender health care to try and “shock” voters who may not be attuned to the nuances of transgender issues, or aware of how big the military’s health care budget actually is.

Jones is running against Republican Tony Gonzales for the seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, whom Jones narrowly lost to in 2018.

See also: Three Kansas Republicans resort to anti-transgender attacks in U.S. Senate race

Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports the election of out LGBTQ candidates to office, condemned the attack against Jones, while also noting that Republicans and Republican-aligned groups have been running controversial ads engaging in gay-baiting and even tiptoeing into the realm of QAnon conspiracy theories by accusing Democrats of supporting sexual deviancy, most notably in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, where openly gay man Jon Hoadley is running against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton.

“The national fundraising arm of the Republican Party has declared war on LGBTQ candidates this election cycle — and homophobia and transphobia are their weapon of choice,” Parker said in a statement. “It is despicable that Republicans would attack a military veteran simply because she believes the trans soldiers who risked their lives beside her deserve fair treatment when they return home. Their appeals to bigotry — especially when aimed at LGBTQ people who fought for America — is the ultimate evidence that winning elections is more important to them than the values most Americans hold.

“The NRCC leadership should think beyond November and recognize they are alienating an entire generation of LGBTQ people and their allies. The candidates refusing to denounce the homophobic and transphobic attack ads launched in their name — especially Tony Gonzales and U.S. Representative Fred Upton — must know their silence is as destructive as the ads themselves. That they accept bigotry for a perceived political gain is a reflection on their character and will not be forgotten.”

Watch the NRCC ad below:

Read more:

Long Island restaurant owner accused of beating and hurling anti-gay slurs at employee

Supreme Court refuses to challenge rulings allowing Idaho trans inmate to receive surgery

Transgender veteran says Illinois is denying her unemployment benefits due to name change

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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