Tice claimed his calling Judge Hidalgo a “joke” was showing his concern.
He thought Hidalgo answered questions posed in Spanish from Spanish media in Spanish without providing an English translation. However Tice expressed no such concern over questions posed in English that might not have been accompanied by a Spanish translation.
In his revised remarks posted on Facebook, Tice stated:
“From my understanding, there were reporters asking questions in Spanish and Judge Hidalgo responded to those questions in Spanish, with no translation given. If that is not the case, then I sincerely apologize.”
“Judge Hidalgo, the citizens of my County, and most importantly the entire Hispanic community for hastily acting out with transgression (sic) on social media.”
People went to Tice’s official Facebook page to make their displeasure known.
“As a Deer Park resident and non-Spanish speaking Texan I am incredibly ashamed that you serve our area with such prejudiced and racist opinions. There are people in this area who speak Spanish that are and were just as concerned about the ITC fire and its consequences to our health and the environment as the English speaking residents. Should people be kept in the dark just because they don’t understand the English explinations being given? No backtracking apology is enough to cover up such ugly racism. Kudos to Judge Hidalgo. Shame on you.” ~ Danelle Cass
Tice also provided his full statement to local news outlets. In it, he blamed his comments on being “very emotional.” The commissioner’s apology reads:
“In regards to the comments I issued on Judge Hidalgo’s press conference: From my understanding, there were reporters asking questions in Spanish and Judge Hildalgo responded to those questions in Spanish, with no translation given. If that is not the case, then I sincerely apologize.”
“Like many citizens concerned about the ITC fires, I was very emotional about the effect it was having on everyone. I apologize to Judge Hidalgo, the citizens of my County, and most importantly the entire Hispanic community for hastily acting out with transgression on social media.”
“I recognize how my response could have been interpreted in a derogatory manner and for that I am sorry. I immediately regretted my choice of words. I’m not proud of my behavior, that is not the example I wish to lead by. I can only hope, in time, that my actions can be forgiven.”
“Having grown up in Galena Park, Texas— a place that is and has always been a very diverse community—I was raised with the ideology that you do not judge anyone by their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Those values mean everything to me.”
“It breaks my heart that I may have said anything that would lead anyone to believe otherwise.”
“Those who know me well, know how deeply rooted I am within the Hispanic community. My sentiments on this issue were grounded in the passion and love that I have for the City of Houston and the surrounding areas. Again, I am truly sorry for for creating this unnecessary situation.”
When asked about his comments to The Houston Chronicle, Tice wrote:
“My comments towards Judge Hidalgo today in the Chronicle were inappropriate. I apologize for that. I was very emotional, and said things that I regret. Again, I am truly sorry.”