George P. Bush has led Republicans in condemning racism. Is he the future of the party in Texas?

December 19, 2019

AUSTIN — As a navy intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, George P. Bush saw the lengths to which radical Islamic terrorists went to spread their hateful ideology.

Then, on Aug. 3, terror hit home when a mass shooter killed 22 people in El Paso to repel what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Bush, the Texas land commissioner, had seen silence follow similar attacks. He didn’t want that to happen again.

“There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorists in the U.S. in the last several months. This is a real and present threat we must all denounce and defeat,” he said in a tweet hours after the shooting. “I am praying for the victims of the shooting in El Paso. And I am asking that all Americans stand firm against all forms of terrorism.”

As Texas voters grow more diverse and Republicans begin searching for a broader appeal to voters of color, Bush’s quiet leadership on the issue puts him in position to play a leading role in the party heading into the next decade — especially in a post-Trump era.

Other Republican officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and even President Donald Trump followed Bush’s lead after the attack and publicly denounced its white supremacist roots.

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