Texas representative Joaquin Castro (D.) defended his decision to publicly display the names and employers of 44 private citizens who donated to President Donald Trump during an interview on Morning Joe Wednesday morning.
Castro, co-chair of his brother Julian's presidential campaign, said he wants "people to think twice" about supporting Trump and that the graphic was already circulating before he shared it.
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski also excused the posting of donor names by arguing that the information is already publicly accessible.
"You're not releasing any new information or revealing any secrets. You're literally framing what is already public information. And wouldn't you want more people to know who was funding which presidential campaign?" Brzezinski said, adding that if someone is proud of supporting President Trump, then that information will be public.
"That's right. I made the point that their money is going to fuel these ads and that's creating a danger. It's inciting hate towards a community and so that's creating a danger for millions of people. We saw an instance where there's a cost to that," Castro responded, referring to the El Paso mass shooting. He added that giving money to Donald Trump at this point should not be considered ordinary political business.
Co-anchor Willie Geist pushed back against Castro. "What is the objective here? What do you hope will happen to the 44 private citizens whose names you posted? Do you want people to boycott their companies, protest outside their homes? What is your goal here?" Geist asked.
"No, that was never my goal," Castro responded, saying that the post was meant "to draw attention to the fact we've got a lot of people in our community who are respected by San Antonio, who are contributing to this guy that's using their money to fuel hate."
"I hope donors in San Antonio and donors throughout the country, unless you support the white nationalism and the racism that Donald Trump is paying for and fueling, then I hope that you, as a person of good conscience, will think twice about contributing to his campaign."
Geist pointed out that although Castro did not list any addresses, it is still easy to find the donors in person, and asked Castro how he would respond to someone being harassed for supporting President Trump.
"That was not my intention. These things are public. No, what I want is for people to think twice about supporting a guy who is fueling hate in this country," Castro said.
"If you agree rhetoric can lead to incitement, even if it triggers one person to do something terrible, does it give you any pause to put these names out in public?" Geist responded.
"Willie, they're already public, they're already out there," Castro argued.
"There are 11 retirees and one homemaker who are not public," Geist responded, causing Castro to pivot to saying he was not responsible for creating the graphic.
"This was already circulating, I shared it so I didn't create the graphic," Castro said.
"I don't want anybody on the left or the right to be a target of any crazy person, of any person who means them harm at all," he concluded.