2020 Election

Texas Dem Signed Letter Defending Bill Ayers

Mike Siegel campaign to end 'over-policing,' enact Green New Deal

Mike Siegel speaks during #CloseTheCamps / Getty Images

A Texas Democrat signed a letter defending the integrity of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

While a student at Cornell Law School, congressional hopeful Mike Siegel joined a 2008 statement of solidarity with Bill Ayers, a self-described radical communist who was hunted for more than a decade by the FBI for his role in bombing government buildings.

"We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers," the letter reads. "The current characterizations of Professor Ayers—'unrepentant terrorist,' ‘lunatic leftist'—are unrecognizable to those who know or work with him."

As a founder and leader of the revolutionary terror cell known as Weather Underground, Ayers was involved in bombings at the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol, and New York City Police Department during the early 1970s. Weather Underground was one of many ultra-violent leftist groups that the FBI surveilled and dismantled throughout the 1970s. 

"They were very radical," University of California at Berkeley scholar Steven Hayward told the Washington Free Beacon. "They believed in bombing, assassination, and violence to overthrow the system."

The Siegel campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Citing Cuban communist revolutionary Che Guevara as an intellectual forerunner, Ayers and Weather Underground encouraged "the complete destruction of imperialism, the seizure of the means of production and the building of socialism," through armed action against the American government, as their 1974 manifesto reads. To this end, the group formally declared war against the American government in 1970.

President Obama was pressed by John McCain's campaign about his own association with Ayers while a community organizer in Chicago. Though Obama denounced the violent means taken by Weather Underground, to this day Ayers offers few regrets about his history with the organization.

"He’s totally unrepentant for his radical past," Hayward said.

Siegel has previously touted himself as a "proud red-diaper baby," comparing his parents to Guevera and Cuban communist strongman Fidel Castro. On the campaign trail he has endorsed the Green New Deal and universal health care, as well as pledges to end "mass incarceration" and "over-policing," according to his website.

Texas's 10th district race pits Siegel against veteran congressman Michael McCaul (R., Tex.), ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. McCaul sports an endorsement from local news as a "constructive and effective member of Congress," while his Democratic colleague Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Tex.) called McCaul "a common-sense, moderate type of individual."

Siegel challenged McCaul for the same seat in 2018, losing the race by four points. Cook Political Report rates the race, "leans Republican."