In retaliation for CitiGroup’s announcement that the company will assist employees with obtaining abortions outside of Texas, that state’s House Representative Briscoe Cain (R) threatened legislation to prevent the bank from doing business in the state.
In 2021, Texas passed one of the state’s most restrictive abortion laws, preventing abortions after six weeks gestation – before many women even know they are pregnant. Companies nationwide spoke out in opposition, pledging financial assistance to women who needed to travel out of state to obtain, safe reproductive healthcare. Citigroup is one of those companies.
On March 17th, CitiGroup released this statement:
“In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources.”
A day later, Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted this:
Today, I sent cease-and-desist letters to abortion funds and Citigroup informing them of current abortion laws in Texas. Abortion funds think they can flout the law because a local district attorney refuses to bring charges. We'll fix this problem next session. #txlege pic.twitter.com/jvf1WgCetM
— Briscoe Cain (@BriscoeCain) March 18, 2022
Known throughout Texas for being anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-voting rights, Cain has also been a huge parroter of “The Big Lie” – Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was “stolen.” In 2017 and 2019, two separate Rice University studies named him “the most conservative member of the house.”
Cain frequently uses Twitter to spout his anti-everything rhetoric. In his Twitter bio, he describes himself as a “Christ Follower, Freedom Fighter, and Liberty Lover.” But neither Christ, freedom, nor liberty would save him from a 141-day Twitter ban in 2019 for threatening 2020 Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke.
In September 2019, a little over a month after the August 3rd mass shooting at a Walmart in Beto’s hometown of El Paso, Texas left 23 dead, O’Rourke proposed a mandatory buyback of assault rifles during the debate. Beto tweeted “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15.” Cain, being the good “patriot” he is, responded, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn't own an AR-15—and neither should anyone else. pic.twitter.com/jsiZmwjMDs
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
Beto reported Cain to the FBI. In blatant violation of Twitter’s TOS, he was asked to remove the tweet. Cain refused, hence the ban. Amidst the blowback, Cain immediately began his “I’m the real victim here” tour with appearances on Dana Loesch’s radio show, and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, complete with solicitations for donations to his campaign.
The victim playing was short-lived. The day Cain was reinstated on the app, January 31, 2020, he tweeted a screenshot of the tweet that got him banned, with the quote “But seriously @twitter, y’all banned me for this.”
The “Guns and GOD” representative brags about the AR-15 mounted on the wall in his office at the Capitol in Austin. Right-wingers pride themselves in showing off their firepower, frequently posting pictures of themselves posing with guns. It almost seems a pre-requisite.
Jonathan Tilove of the Austin American-Statesman tweeted this picture:
During the Texas legislative session, @BriscoeCain has one of his several AR-15s mounted on the wall of his Capitol office, locking it up at night. https://t.co/LaDypUgoa1 pic.twitter.com/l8yDI39cR3
— jonathantilove (@JTiloveTX) September 13, 2019
The tweet that got Cain banned kicked up a storm of controversy around the right-wing politician. Old rumors surrounding sexual orientation resurfaced, including anti-gay fliers sent out to voters in his district in 2016.
Posted in the Houston Chronicle in 2016:
Cain, then an attorney, was running to unseat GOP incumbent Wayne Smith (R-Baytown). The up-and-coming politician was running on an anti-LGBTQ platform and referred to violence against the transgender community as “dudes in dresses getting beat up.” Smith has denied sending the mailers. In either case, the smear tactic failed. Cain not only bested the ultra-conservative in the past two election cycles but he’s also run unopposed.
After posting the two cease-and-desist letters online – one to CitiGroup, the other to Texas funds that provide financial assistance for women seeking abortion in Texas – Cain received a letter from legal representatives for the North Texas Equal Access Fund, Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality, and Frontera Fund. If you recall, Frontera Fund is the women’s rights group that successfully advocated for the release of Lizelle Herrera. The 26-year-old south Texas woman was arrested on April 7th, and charged with murder, for what was called a “self’-induced-abortion.” The charges were dropped by the Starr County DA, four days later.
According to the law firm, Thompson and Coburn, Cain falsely accused their clients of illegally funding abortions, and by directly contacting them he was in violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Sharing their information publicly also puts them, and the women they help, in danger.
Copy of the full letter here.
Despite his posturing on social media, and for the public, Cain’s five-year legislative career has been less than stellar. In a house debate in 2021– on a bill that he wrote – he was unable to answer simple questions about his intended legislation and was incapable of debating with his colleagues.
A frequent critic of the Texas representative, Texas Monthly magazine, has called Cain out as being “ignorant,” “uninformed,” and named him the “worst legislator of 2017.”
With no record of any meaningful legislation, with his public grandstanding, with social media bans for proposing violence, and having been reported to the FBI – it seems Representative Briscoe Cain is right on brand for the GOP.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.