Tony Gonzales claims Biden ‘lied to my face’ and public must tune him out – Washington Examiner

A Texas congressman has proposed altogether tuning out President Joe Biden for the remainder of his term, going a step beyond House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s (R-MN) idea to ban him from future State of the Union speeches.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) said in a phone call Monday afternoon that his GOP colleague “had a point” on rethinking Biden’s future attendance at the annual speech given GOP concerns Biden’s remarks were too divisive.

Gonzales said he and some voters have chosen to “go a step further” and ignore what Biden says going forward following a particularly hostile speech earlier this month.

“I stopped paying attention to what Biden has to say. I think a lot of Americans have,” Gonzales told the Washington Examiner.

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, March 7, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Gonzales is a second-term lawmaker whose district has been devastated in the last three years as hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have poured through the rural town of Eagle Pass. 

But Gonzales said Biden’s words were personal to him after the president looked him in the eye during a meeting in 2022 and broke his promise.

“I hosted Joe Biden after the shooting in Uvalde, and he looked me right in the eye, and he told me, ‘Hey, I want to have Tony in the White House to talk about how we can secure the border,’ and two years later, I’ve yet to be in the White House to talk to him about it,” Gonzales said.

“The man lied to my face,” Gonzales said. “I’m at a dead end. I feel as if I’ve tried over and over and over again to find a solution. They don’t want a solution. The Biden administration doesn’t want a solution, so I stopped paying attention to whatever they’re saying, and I think a lot of Americans have, too.”

Emmer told Axios that GOP leadership should rethink how it goes about inviting presidents to speak before Congress in the future, making him the first to take such an approach.

“That was about the most divisive State of the Union — I wouldn’t extend him an invitation next year, if that’s what we’re going to get,” Emmer told Axios at the House GOP retreat in West Virginia over the weekend. “You’ve got to rethink issuing invitations for a State of the Union if it’s not going to be a State of the Union, and that was not. That was a campaign speech.”

Not all House Republicans attended the retreat this weekend, including Gonzales, who said he has been buried in work in his district, which encompasses 800 miles of the southern border with Mexico.

“My district has been on fire for three years. … From year one of the border crisis to the worst school shooting in Texas history to year three of the border crisis —it has been nonstop for us,” he said. “I support Republicans coming together and talking about policy stuff. There’s just too much happening in my district.”

Right-wing Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was also absent from the retreat and instead showed up in Texas campaigning for a Republican who challenged Gonzales during the primary and forced the incumbent into a runoff later this year.

Rep. Matt Gaetz arrives before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Gaetz, who successfully led the ouster of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year, has criticized Gonzales for not being further to the right on the political spectrum and went as far as physically showing up with his opponent despite House Speaker Mike Johnson’s warning at the retreat that members “cool it” with the infighting.

“I’ve never had a conversation with Matt. I don’t know him very well,” Gonzales said. “I think he’s better off spending time in Pensacola and helping the people there.”

Lawmakers returned to Washington on Tuesday with days to finalize a handful of bills funding federal departments before the money runs out Friday.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) left, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) hold a news conference on border security after the deaths of a Georgia couple, Jose Lerma, 67, and Isabel Lerma, 65, near Batesville, Texas, who were killed in a high-speed chase involving migrant smugglers, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) left, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) hold a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.

Gonzales said he would “vote against” the Department of Homeland Security funding bill if it did not include adequate border security language, potentially setting up a partial government shutdown.

“I am at the end of the road here. I’ve absolutely tried everything to highlight the fact that this border crisis is real,” Gonzales said. “I’ve hosted over 200 members of Congress. I hosted the richest man on Earth,” said Gonzales, a reference to billionaire Elon Musk’s visit to his district, “but it can’t just be words. It can’t just be fiery speeches. At some point, we as House Republicans have to do something to change things, and so I’m adamantly against continuing the status quo.”

But he thinks Republicans ought to pick a new fight. 

More than a month ago, the House voted to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on two articles. The articles were slated to be walked over to the Senate in a ceremony at the start of March, but Republican leadership chose to delay the impeachment action until it had government funding sorted out.

Gonzales said it was the wrong move.

“We should have pushed the articles [of] impeachment over to the Senate on day one. I don’t understand what the hold-up [was],” Gonzales said. “This is one of the things where House Republicans can’t be soft on it. Like, if we truly want this to happen, we have to squeeze the Senate for a change. The Senate’s always squeezing the House. It’s time for the House to jam the Senate, and I think we do that on impeaching Mayorkas.”

Mayorkas has stated no plans to step down since his impeachment, meaning any change in DHS leadership would have to come by the Senate’s decision to convict in a trial, which would strip him of his Senate-confirmed status.


“There comes a point where you are no longer effective for that organization, and if you truly care about DHS, you will do what is best for DHS, and you will step aside, and I think that’s where we’re at,” Gonzales said. “It’s very clear everyone’s checked out. He commands no authority.”

The Washington Examiner reached out to the White House for comment.