Exchange between Trump, Rockwall sheriff draws speculation

President Donald Trump promised to stand with law enforcement during his run to the White House, and, during a meeting with a dozen county sheriffs, he took that promise to the next level.

Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson was among leaders of the National Sheriffs Association represented at Tuesday morning's meeting.

The White House described the sit-down as a "listening session" and towards the end of the meeting President Trump asked if there were any final comments.

"We've got a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation that would require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money," Eavenson said.

"Can you believe that?" Trump added.

"And, I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed," Eavenson said.

Trump asked Eavenson to reveal the senator's name, but he did not.

“Who’s the state senator?” Trump asked. “Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career."

Hours after the exchange, it was still unclear to whom Eavenson, a Republican, was referring. He was not immediately available for comment.

State Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, represents Rockwall County in the Senate. Hall told reporters at the Texas Capitol that he had "no idea" if Eavenson was talking about him but he believes he has a "very good relationship" with the sheriff.

Go here to read more on this story from the Texas Tribune

"I’ll be glad to talk to him," Hall said. "My honest opinion is he made a statement for a fact and didn’t make the whole statement, probably not anticipating how Trump would react to it."

Eavenson appeared to be speaking about civil asset forfeiture, a practice some state senators have called for reforming during this year's legislative session, including state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, who filed Senate Bill 380 in December, and state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who filed Senate Bill 156 in November.

"I don’t know the sheriff," Hinojosa told reporters at the Texas Capitol. "I never met the sheriff. Any person who wants to discuss any piece of legislation with me can come in and talk to me."

While President's Trump’s approval ratings sit at a historic low, he does have support from much of the law enforcement community. Eavenson never did give up the lawmakers name, and added the President was simply making a point.

"Well I didn't say that to do any damage to him personally,” Eavenson told WFAA via remote interview from Washington Tuesday afternoon. “I made that comment to show the lack of logic, in doing something that would harm law enforcement and actually benefit the cartel.”

He echoed those thoughts in a public Facebook post.

During Tuesday’s meeting, concerns from the sheriffs were widespread, from opioid abuse to immigration to terrorism.

"ISIS said, 'We are going to infiltrate the United States and other countries through the migration,’ and then we're not allowed to be tough on the people coming in? Explain that one," said President Trump.

Eavenson said he left the meeting felt listened to by the president -- something he said the law enforcement community hasn't felt in eight years. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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