This past week, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott vetoed the bipartisan Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, despite 83-32 support in the House and 28-3 support in the Senate.
The bill would have imposed fines for keeping dogs outdoors on short lines or in chains, though it still allowed dogs to be kept outside. It also would've banned leaving dogs in hot weather without water.
Abbott defended his veto, claiming Texas already has laws protecting man's best friend, and that the new law would've subjected Texans to "over-criminalization."
"Senate Bill 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog's collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization."
Abbott faced immediate pushback from the public. The hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs soon began trending with angry social media users condemning his decision.
But few condemnations were more devastating than that of MSNBC host Brian Williams. In his Wednesday night broadcast, Williams slammed Abbott for the cruelty of the veto, and drew a greater through-line of how this cruelty is a reflection of the Republican party's efforts to emulate former President Donald Trump, whom Abbott staunchly supports.
You can see video here:
Williams ended his broadcast with an indictment of Abbott's latest vetoes.
The MSNBC host said:
"If you're a Trumper Republican, there's really no limit to what you can say to fire up the base. You can gaslight with the best of them, you can lie with impunity."
"Generally the rule is: Say or do the most shocking thing imaginable, and that's how you stay on brand."
Williams then specifically addressed Abbott's recent actions.
"Which brings us somehow back to the rootin'-tootin' Trumper governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. His state doesn't have a dependable power grid, and yet he's going to build his own wall on the border."
"And he's being richly rewarded by a visit from his guy, Trump, next week. If Abbott wants to, say, run for President, he must be more further ensconced in a particular area of Trump's anatomy than even Ron DeSantis of Florida."
"And that won't be easy."
"Sure, the pretend outrage over critical race theory helps Abbott—so does the voter suppression bill he's been working so hard to enact, and that 'guns for everyone' legislation he signed. But now he's outdone even himself."
Highlighting one of several Abbott vetoes from the day, Williams called the cruelty on brand.
"Today—and we quote here from the Texas Tribune—he vetoed a bill known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act."
"The bill would have made it illegal—and if you've ever loved a dog, this will appear to you to be common sense—it would have made it illegal to chain up dogs and leave them outside without drinkable water, adequate shade or shelter."
"It also called for a ban on tethering dogs with heavy chains."
He shared Abbott's reason for refusing to curb animal cruelty in Texas.
"[Abbott] quote, 'Texas is no place for this kind of micromanaging and overcriminalization, said the governor in the veto statement'."
"That goes right to the base—or at least it's designed to. Now, tonight the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs is trending."
The veteran broadcaster finished his commentary by stating:
"Remember the rules—when you're trying to appeal to that Trump base, nothing can be shocking or outrageous enough because Abbott figures apparently dogs can't vote."
"And, really, what have dogs ever done for us?"
Dog lovers across Texas and the world concurred with Williams' disdain for Abbott's decision to veto the animal welfare bill.
Meanwhile, #AbbottHatesDogs continues to fill with criticisms of the veto.
Hopefully, the Texas legislature will soon overturn Abbott's veto.