‘This is not the time:’ Harris County judge, Houston mayor clash during severe weather press conference

Hidalgo and Whitmire seemingly clash (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – In their first joint press conference to discuss the impact behind Thursday night’s deadly storms, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor John Whitmire appeared to exchange passive-aggressive blows.

Both leaders shared a podium Friday morning, along with other city-county leaders and emergency officials to share details on the damage extent and fatalities across southeast Texas.

BACKGROUND: ‘We’re in recovery mode’: Storm kills 4 - possibly 5, Houston mayor asks Houstonians to stay home

Shortly after the press conference concluded, the County Judge stepped in to deliver her previous address in Spanish. Mayor Whitmire was prepared to give the podium to another Harris County Pct. 4 Commissioner, Lesley Briones.

“We promised the Spanish media, I would go after you, so let me just repeat my remarks in Spanish,” Hidalgo said.

A small disagreement followed before Judge Hidalgo appeared to remind Whitmire there was already a plan in motion and this “sudden” change was not part of the program.

“Mayor, there’s an impact in all four counties and so whenever we have an impact on one county, the commissioner joins,” she explained. “But all four counties have been impacted and I don’t feel comfortable with giving special treatment.” “Everybody was notified that you, as the mayor, and I as a county judge are speaking. I’m happy for them to join. But at least if you want her to speak, let me do the due diligence to the Spanish constituents.”

SEVERE WEATHER AFTERMATH: Trees, power lines down in Houston; Daylight illuminates how severe deadly storm truly was

Shortly afterward, Whitmire said in a seemingly sardonic tone, “Sure, I’m just glad I made the approval list.” However, Hidalgo didn’t think there was anything funny about his comments and replied, “Mayor, this is a disaster - this is not the time.”

Moments later, the apparent tensions started again after Whitmire requested to have Texas State Rep. Jolanda Jones of House District 147 deliver a short message.

“I don’t want to play favorites because it’s your press conference, but Jolanda Jones has a very vital message about the homeless and the conditions they’re facing downtown,” he said. “So I don’t want to get out of line. But she’s got a real concern. That’s her district, and the glass is everywhere. And it’s kind of the purpose of me being here is to allow people to know the concerns we have.”

Hidalgo, appearing to push back on sudden program changes asked to answer questions from the media beforehand, to which Mayor Whitmire looked back at Rep. Jones saying, “I tried.”

About the Author

Historian, educator, writer, expert on "The Simpsons," amateur photographer, essayist, film & tv reviewer and race/religious identity scholar. Joined KPRC 2 in Spring 2024 but has been featured in various online newspapers and in the Journal of South Texas' Fall 2019 issue.

Recommended Videos