Democratic Texas judge apologizes for joke about the accident that left the Governor paralyzed

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A Democratic judge in Texas apologized on Friday for the spell of the state, Governor Greg Abbott, ‘hates trees because one fell on him,’ a reference to an accident 35 years ago left Abbott paralyzed.

Travis County judge Sarah Eckhardt made the quip during a discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on the Texas legislature to override local ordinances as in the state capital, about the cutting down of the trees.. Eckhardt comment drew laughs from the panel to the audience.

The comment was first reported in a tweet by The Federalist political editor John Daniel Davidson.

“In my panel of the Festival is today in the Texas Tribune on the “Public enrage ment” I spoke about the importance of being able to disagree without being uncomfortable. Then I said something unpleasant,” Eckhardt said in a statement, according to The Texas Tribune. “I would like to Abbott apologize to the Governor. I made a flippant remark that was inappropriate. The comment has nothing further to the discussion I was participating in, much less the political discourse in our community, state and nation. While the Governor and I disagree on a number of issues, that’s no excuse to be uncomfortable.”

Travis County judge Sarah Eckhardt and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
(Facebook/Nick Wagner, Austin American-Statesman, via AP)

Abbott, 61, was left paralyzed from the waist down since 1984, when an oak tree fell on him while Jogging in Houston. He used a wheelchair ever since.

Travis County Republican y Chairman, Matt Mackowiak, said Eckhardt’s remark showed a “deep lack of compassion” to someone with a disability.


“Judge Eckhardt believes, apparently, that his disability openly mock, if he helps her make a political argument. This joke makes a profound lack of compassion of the judge Eckhardt”, he said in a statement. “There is no place for insulting the Americans with disabilities act and judge, Eckhardt should know better.”

Abbott’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.


After his injury, Abbott sued the homeowner whose tree fell on him, along with the tree-service company that had inspected the tree before it fell on him. Abbott received a multi-million-dollar settlement in 1986, which he has said he would like to give back again the use of his legs.

“Money does not heal everything. Money is not allowed to go to me. It will not allow me to dance with my wife. It is not allowed to get me, my daughter. It does not allow me to walk my daughter down the aisle when she gets married,” Abbott, The Texas Tribune in 2013, said during his first campaign for Governor. “If the name of the person that I could write that review, would I send all of this money directly, when I could walk again.”

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