Congressman Troy Nehls — ­Rash, brash, out of control, by Julianne Malveaux

2/15/2024, 6 p.m.
Republican Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX) recently attacked his colleague, St. Louis Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO), with rash, brash, and out-of-control ...

Republican Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX) recently attacked his colleague, St. Louis Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO), with rash, brash, and out-of-control language. It happened at the end of January, but somehow, his attack stuck in my craw.

I am tired of unprincipled attacks on Black women, and more than that, I am tired of the casual use of racist tropes to demean us. The misogyny that Black women experience often goes unanswered. I’ve had enough.

Rep. Bush is being investigated for her use of campaign funds. After numerous death threats, she has chosen to use those funds, which are not federal funds, to hire security to protect her. One of the security officers she has hired is her husband, who has worked as a security guard.

She has done nothing illegal, although anyone would say the appearance is challenging. One investigation has found that she has done nothing wrong. The second investigation will likely see the same thing.

Rep. Troy Nehls, clearly a virulent racist, was asked what he thought. He described Cortney Merrits, Rep. Bush’s husband, as a “thug.”


Rep. Nehls is a disgraced former police officer fired for mishandling evidence. He served our country as an Army reservist and was an elected sheriff in Fort Bend, Texas, from 2013 through 2021. He ran for office planning to address issues of health care for veterans. So why is he attacking a fellow veteran, Cortney Merrits, as a “thug”?

Does he only have concerns for veterans when they are white?

Should he not have respect for a colleague’s husband who served our country and put his life on the line?

A deep dive into Rep. Nehls’s background reveals him to be a deeply flawed, indeed unsavory, individual and an undistinguished member of Congress who needs to know how to keep his mouth shut.

Rep. Nehls did not stop at attacking Rep. Bush’s husband.

He went on to call her “loud” and to say that if she “toned it down,” she would not have experienced the death threats that require her to have private security. Loud? Rep. Bush was not elected to be quiet. She has been a tireless advocate, a Black Lives Matter leader, and a vocal member of “The Squad,” a force for social and economic justice. Loud? I wish she were louder and more vocal because she speaks our truth.

Rep. Nehls’ comments about Rep. Bush are inflaming, and his description of her as “loud” reminds me of the 1918 lynching of Mary Turner, a young black woman who protested the murder of her husband and threatened to press charges against the white men who killed him. She was

described as “mouthy,” or in other words, loud. Because she had the nerve to confront white men, she was lynched. She was nine months pregnant when she was killed, hung by her ankles, doused with gasoline, and set on fire.

Most of our nation’s five thousand known lynchings were of Black men, but as many as one hundred Black women were lynched, and Mary Turner is one of them. She was lynched as an example. Don’t speak up, Black women, or you will suffer consequences. Don’t confront white men, or we will knock you down.

Rep. Nehls invoked a dangerous racist trope, and he has yet to apologize for his language. He isn’t likely to apologize because it is open season on Black people, and these racist tropes play well

with his crowd. He helped the Capitol Police barricade the Capitol on Jan. 6 but has since written a book supportive of the 45th president. He fits right in with the racist crowd that has nothing but disdain for Black people (except Tim Scott) and Black women.

Rep. Nehl’s racist rant is rash, brash, and out of control.

We must respond to him forcefully and throw our enthusiastic support behind Congresswoman

Cori Bush, an American patriot, activist, and sheroe.

The writer is an economist and author.