Texas Missing from DeSantis ESG Alliance
as Abbott Fights Woke on Separate Front
March 17, 2023
Texas appeared to be getting left behind in the latest GOP offensive in the war against woke on Thursday when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enlisted 18 Republican counterparts for a fight to stop environmental, social and corporate governance policies in corporate America.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was the most conspicuous omission from the anti-ESG brigade that DeSantis rounded up with a focus on state retirement fund investments in companies that the GOP brands as woke. DeSantis' partners in the blitz include the top state leaders in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
"The proliferation of ESG throughout America is a direct threat to the American economy, individual economic freedom, and our way of life, putting investment decisions in the hands of the woke mob to bypass the ballot box and inject political ideology into investment decisions, corporate governance, and the everyday economy," the DeSantis coalition said in a statement that was reported on Fox News.
DeSantis sees the brawl with woke that he initiated during his first term as a springboard to the White House in 2024. DeSantis has been fairly even with Donald Trump in polls on the GOP presidential primary next year. No other Republicans have shown any signs of being competitive in the race for the nation's highest office.
But Abbott fancies himself to be a competitor in the race for president in 2024 - and it's conceivable that he passed on the chance to join the DeSantis anti-ESG cadre for the sake of carving a unique path to the nomination for himself. The Texas leader moved swiftly on Thursday to distinguish himself as an anti-woke warrior with a tweet and letter that he fired to President Joe Biden less than an hour after initial reports on the DeSantis alliance surfaced.
But Abbott took Biden to task on wokeness in the oil and gas industry amid the assertion that he's putting "hundreds of thousands" of jobs in the Lone Star State alone here at risk with a "radical ESG agenda" that he ostensibly supports. .
"As the Governor of Texas, I see firsthand the problems your policies have created for hardworking Americans looking for an opportunity to succeed," Abbott told the president. "By pushing this radical ESG agenda, you are risking the lifelong savings of millions, for political points. I will continue to stand up for my constituents who rely upon the good-paying jobs of our energy industry. Anyone who puts their livelihood at risk will have a fight on their hands down in Texas."
DeSantis sounded the alarms on woke before Abbott and other Texas Republicans were aware of the concept - taking aim at the largest Florida employer with attempts to punish Disney for ESG-like practices. Messing with Disney World would be tantamount to Abbott attempting to hurt homegrown Texas companies like H-E-B or AT&T.
But Texas quickly followed suit with legislation that Abbott signed in 2021 in a move that required state pension funds to divest in firms that boycott oil and gas. The Texas governor could argue that he got the jump on DeSantis last summer in terms of using the state as a weapon against environmental, social and corporate governance policies in the financial community with the exclusion of Citigroup from a massive municipal bond deal here.
The DeSantis anti-ESG alliance includes red states with a combined population of 79 million. Texas has 30 million residents.
more to come ...