A New Mexico Democratic House candidate, in a hotly contested campaign as moderator, deleted tweets attacking the oil and gas industry, rationalizing riots in the summer of 2020 and comparing the Trump administration to the Ku Klux Klan.
Deleted tweets reviewed by CNN’s KFile about the oil and gas industry could be problematic for Gabe Vasquez, a former councilman running against Republican Yvette Herrell in New Mexico’s second congressional district. The energy-rich region is part of America’s most active oil and gas producing area.
Vasquez, who in interviews during his campaign called the regional fossil fuel industry “tremendously important,” calling it “very toxic” and “irresponsible” in comments that have since been removed on social media.
Inside Elections rates the race as a toss-up, and is currently one of 19 races that could decide control of the House of Representatives this November.
In a statement to CNN on Thursday, Vazquez did not address the deleted tweets, but said: “I’ve been clear all along: I don’t think defunding the police is the path to a fair criminal justice system. That’s why, as a Las Cruces councilman, I voted to increase police funding by millions I had and worked directly with our police chief to improve community policing. … I will always put New Mexico’s oil and gas workers first by promoting responsible fossil fuel development that protects their health, wages and futures. At the same time, I will hold them accountable for paying their fair share. and to oil and gas companies that do not pollute our public lands.’
Vasquez has also promoted himself as a police supporter in ads. But in 2020, he deleted a tweet rationalizing the riots in cities after the murder of George Floyd. Vasquez has repeatedly said He is against defunding the police, but suggested he supported the policy while speaking to a local station at a 2020 protest, wearing a face mask and not giving his name. “We need serious police reform in this country,” he said in the clip. “It’s not just about getting rid of the police, it’s about getting rid of a system that privileges white people over everyone else.”
A spokesperson for the campaign told Politico that Vasquez has not given his name because he wants the focus to be on the protest organizers.
“The cutting edge of a white supremacist system culminates in state-sanctioned, cold-blooded murders of black individuals.” The now-deleted tweet from May 2020 reads. “There is so much that needs to be dismantled, to clarify this system and change the power structures to fundamentally change this country. That’s why cars and buildings are burning.”
Since winning the Democratic nomination for New Mexico’s second congressional district in June, Vasquez has said he supports protecting New Mexico’s oil and gas industry and that renewable energy should not come at the expense of the state’s fossil fuel industry. The district includes part of the Permian Basin, one of the nation’s most important and active sources of fossil fuel production.
“I think the oil and gas industry is incredibly important to New Mexico,” Vasquez told the local Carlsbad Current-Argus in August. “It’s incredibly important to this district, and I think it supports an economy that’s not based on fossil fuel extraction, but one that’s based on small businesses that support this industry.”
But in several tweets that have since been deleted, Vasquez advocated opposing fracking, the Green New Deal. and “The Very Toxic Fossil Fuel Industry.”
“To my fellow Dems, let’s avoid playing R’s talk and play on their turf! It’s OK to oppose fracking, OK to support the Green New Deal, OK to support Medicare for all, OK to talk about progressive immigration reform, OK to stand up for what you believe in. #StayStrong”, since deleted tweet Read from November 2020.
Another one tweet that has since been deleted he added, “Investing in oil and gas is irresponsible,” linking to an op-ed that called fossil fuels a “dying industry.”
Vasquez also deleted tweets with inflammatory rhetoric about race, including ones comparing the Trump administration to the Ku Klux Klan.
In a since-deleted tweet in December 2020, Vasquez criticized the criminal justice system and used the hashtag “AmeriKKKa”, calling out the Klan.
“The pardon of rich white men who should be in prison is a terrible reflection of how justice is served in this country. Whites and the privileged escape justice, while the poor, black, indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately targeted, punished, and imprisoned by the #AmeriKKKa.” he wrote.
In another since-deleted tweet in August 2020, Vasquez again criticized the criminal justice system for defrauding the leaders of the Justice Department’s “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign of hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters.
“Pendejos MAGA was conned by racists, Trump’s army of con men will likely forgive him, private border walls will crumble from erosion, and racial tensions will continue to rise. No one will take responsibility. Trump’s AmeriKKK. What a disgusting mess.” Vasquez tweeted.
Then-President Donald Trump pardoned one of the defendants – his former ally and advisor Steve Bannon – but two other defendants were found guilty and another had a mistrial.
And on January 6, 2021, Vasquez blamed the Capitol riot on white nationalism in a now-deleted tweet.
“We are physically manifesting the monster that is white nationalism on the steps of the nation’s capitol [sic]. It has always been there, but it has been hidden in legislation, in the offices of Congress, and in the courts. We always knew it was there. Today we see his many faces.” Vasquez tweeted at 15:50
In other deleted tweets in November 2020, Vasquez attacked a commenter who opposed student loan forgiveness, to write“Oh you mean this American economy is suddenly not fair to the white man? What are you ever going to do?”
In another, he he attacked colored people Those who didn’t “think like us” were “peddlers claiming to be part of the white establishment.” “sell it” is a Spanish term that means someone has been “sold”.