Houston GOP powerbroker asked governor to instruct the National Guard to 'shoot to kill' rioters

A prominent conservative activist urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to allow the National Guard to “shoot to kill” those who were demonstrating against police brutality and systemic racism after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

"I want you to give a message to the governor," Steve Hotze told Abbott's chief of staff, Luis Saenz, in a voicemail that was obtained by The Texas Tribune. "I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ‘em. Thank you." 

The voicemail, which The Tribune obtained through a public information request, was sent on the weekend of June 6, days after Abbott activated the National Guard in response to the protests, some of which had turned violent. It was not immediately clear if Saenz or Abbott responded.

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Hotze is a well-known conservative soldier in the culture wars, challenging Abbott's statewide mask mandate, fighting against same-sex marriage and more.

A spokesperson for Hotze did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Tribune.

Several governors called up the National Guard in response to protests over Floyd’s death, most of which remained peaceful.

Updated: 1:16 p.m.