GOP official in Texas accuses Joaquin Castro of 'scare tactics'

A Republican Party official in Texas said Wednesday that Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroThe Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising Joaquin Castro volunteers to play his brother on 'SNL' MORE (D-Texas) engaged in "scare tactics" by tweeting the names and employers of dozens of donors to President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE’s reelection campaign.

“It’s shameful for Joaquin Castro to do this,” Paul Simpson, who is chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, told Hill.TV. “But it shows that he’s having to resort to some kind of scare tactics or intimidation tactics to try to get some support."

Castro's twin brother, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, is one of two dozen presidential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

Simpson said even though the donor information was already publicly available, sharing it on social media puts the individuals and their employers at risk.

“We all know those are public records if you know how to go dig them up, but particularly what he did of course was to put it out on Twitter, to put it out on social media with names of what their occupations were," he said. "What is he inviting people to do, obviously but to boycott or attack those businesses.”

A Castro spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. 

Castro is facing backlash for tweeting the names of 44 Texans who donated the maximum amount allowed -- $2,700 -- to Trump’s campaign.

“Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders,’” Castro tweeted on Monday, referencing owners of several prominent local businesses in San Antonio, where the Castro brothers are from.

Candidates are required to disclose to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the names and employers who donate $200 or more. The FEC regularly makes that information publicly available online, but it’s uncommon for a lawmaker to publish the details of another campaign.

A number of Republicans, including House GOP leaders, have lashed out at Castro.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions MORE (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Cheney slated to introduce bill to place sanctions on Turkey MORE (La.), who was nearly killed in a politically motivated shooting two years ago, called Castro’s tweet “dangerous.”

Castro hit back at McCarthy, arguing that the information he shared was already public record and that Republican attacks were just trying to distract people from the “racism that has overtaken the GOP.”

“No one was targeted or harassed in my post. You know that. All that info is routinely published,” he tweeted Tuesday. “You’re trying to distract from the racism that has overtaken the GOP and the fact that President Trump spends donor money on thousands of ads about Hispanics ‘invading’ America.”

The clash comes amid escalating tensions between Republicans and Democrats following the deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend.

Some Democrats have said Trump’s rhetoric contributed to the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

Shortly before carrying out the attack, the alleged gunman posted a manifesto warning of a “Hispanic invasion.”

Trump has used similar language when talking about immigration. His campaign placed thousands of Facebook ads earlier this year warning of an “invasion” at the U.S. southern border.

Trump, meanwhile, has argued that his rhetoric has unified Americans.

“I think my rhetoric brings people together,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday when asked if his comments contribute to violence.

—Tess Bonn