A Texas judge apologized after saying that the only reason Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “hates trees” is because he was paralyzed by one.
The comments in question occurred Friday during a Texas Tribune Festival panel where Judge Sarah Eckhardt said, “Governor Abbott hates trees because one fell on him.”
The remarks were initially reported by Federalist reporter John Daniel Davidson.
At #TribFest19 panel on progressive activism, @JudgeEckhardt, talking about #txlege overriding local ordinances like Austin’s tree ordinance, says Gov. Abbott “hates trees because one fell on him.” The crowd laughs.
— John Daniel Davidson (@johnddavidson) September 27, 2019
Gov. Abbott was paralyzed when he was 27 after a tree fell on him while he was jogging, as the Dallas Morning News noted.
He was 27 at the time of the incident when he went for an afternoon jog on a windy day through River Oaks in Houston. A limb snapped off a large oak tree as he was passing under it, crushing his spine and damaging his kidneys.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Eckhardt said that she “spoke about the importance of being able to disagree without being disagreeable. Then I said something disagreeable.” (RELATED:Fear of Self-Censorship Not ‘Well-Founded,’ Judge Rules Against UT Austin Students In Free Speech Case)
Today I made a mistake and I sincerely apologize to @GregAbbott_TX. I have personally reached out to the Governor to apologize because my comment was inappropriate and wrong. pic.twitter.com/rgOEM9EQd6
— Judge Sarah Eckhardt (@JudgeEckhardt) September 28, 2019
“I made a flippant comment that was inappropriate. The comment did nothing to further the debate I was participating in,” Eckhardt continued in her apology.
Abbott signed a variety of legislation into law earlier this summer that drew national attention. He signed a law allowing the delivery of beer and wine and a law making it easier for Texas teachers to carry firearms in their classrooms. He also signed a Chick-fil-A bill into law that would make it illegal to discriminate against businesses and other organizations on basis of religious views.