Fact check: Debunking viral fake tweets about Abbott and Cruz after Texas mass shooting
The tweets were believed to have been written by someone whose nephew was shot in the Robb Elementary School massacre. The tweets claimed that a rep for Abbott knocked on their door, shortly after they returned home after identifying their nephew’s body, and that rep “informed us that he was prepared to pay us for stand with the government and say we don’t need tougher gun laws.”
The tweets claimed the governor’s rep then threatened them with ‘charges and maybe worse’ if they spoke about the conversation – and then the rep even said ‘people get hurt and disappear all the time’.
In total, the three tweets were retweeted or quoted over 67,000 times and liked over 240,000 times. Many of these actions came from liberals opposed to Abbott and Cruz. While some questioned whether the story was real or not, others considered it genuine.
Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said in an email: ‘That has not happened and would never be allowed to happen.’ She said Abbott would never allow a staff member to turn up unannounced at the door of a grieving family.
Speaking in a clueless tone on Friday, the man behind the account claimed he and a lawyer were trying to determine who the real author of the tweets was. He also claimed that they reported the alleged account intrusion to “authorities” he did not identify.
False claim on Cruz’s tweets
Another Twitter user accused Cruz of tweeting the exact same three sentences after 12 different mass shootings, only changing the location each time.
This tweet, from a user who goes by the name “chavito” on Twitter and rap stage name Cali Kev, generated more than 17,000 retweets and quote-tweets, as well as more than 43,000 likes.
The viral tweet featured a collage of 12 images that showed Cruz allegedly tweeting the same words over and over again: “Heidi and I are fervently raising in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting of [location]. We are in close contact with local officials, but specific details are still being worked out. Thank you to the heroic law enforcement and first responders for acting so quickly.”
The man behind the “chavito” account did not respond to a request for comment. Cruz’s office confirmed that the senator tweeted this message in response to the Uvalde massacre but not in response to others.
Some other Twitter users criticized Cruz for using similar language, about prayer and law enforcement, in his tweets about some past shootings. It’s fair game. But the allegation in the viral tweet was that he used the same three full sentences after 12 shootings, and that simply isn’t true.