One of the Texas Democrats who fled the state to protest a GOP-backed voter ID bill promoted an event that required park cleanup volunteers to provide multiple proofs of identification—standards the lawmakers have declared onerous and racist.
When state representative Erin Zwiener helped organize a neighborhood cleanup in Kyle, Texas, on September 19, 2020, she asked all those who wanted to participate to bring a photo ID, a utility bill, and a face mask.
"Hey y'all, the city of Kyle is hosting a neighborhood clean-up from 8AM-1130 AM tomorrow morning at Gregg-Clarke Park," Zwiener tweeted. "Kyle residents will be required to: Bring a photo ID, Bring a City of Kyle Utility bill, Be prepared to help unload at the drop site. Wear a mask mask."
That strikes a different note from a statement Zwiener put out on the voter ID bill. "I want my daughter to grow up in a world where the US is still a democracy, where every single vote counts and is valued, and every American has the ability to cast that vote," she said.
Zwiener remains at an undisclosed location in Washington, D.C., as she and more than 50 other Texas Democrats try to block a GOP-backed election reform bill, which includes voter identification provisions. When reached for comment, Zwiener attempted to distance herself from the tweet, lying to a Washington Free Beacon reporter about her identity. She hung up at the mention of her name in a subsequent phone call, before admitting to authoring the tweet.
Zwiener and her colleagues have been the subject of numerous controversies since their departure for Washington, D.C. They memorialized their trip on a privately chartered jet by taking a photo without wearing masks, directly violating federal regulations implemented by President Joe Biden.
Since arriving, their presence in the city has turned into a super-spreader event. At least six members of the delegation have tested positive for COVID-19. Their meeting with a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's staff has caused the infection of at least one individual.
"Yesterday, a fully-vaccinated senior spokesperson in the Speaker's press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week," said Drew Hammier, deputy chief of staff to Pelosi.
Vice President Kamala Harris praised the Democrats' stunt as one of "extraordinary courage and commitment." Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) said he plans on arresting the members of the Democratic delegation when they return from Washington, D.C.