A Democratic member of the Texas House said he did not threaten the life of a Republican colleague during a scuffle on the House floor Monday.
Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevarez began serving in the chamber in 2013 and appeared on CNN's "New Day" Tuesday morning to explain what happened when Memorial Day fireworks erupted in Austin.
"No," Nevarez said flatly when he was asked if he threatened Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi.
Nevarez went on to explain that Rinaldi had promised to call immigration agents on protesters in the House gallery, which prompted the scuffle that involved several lawmakers.
"If you go back and how it started is this gentleman got in the faces of some of my colleagues and I was standing a few feet away from them," Nevarez said. "He started talking about how he was calling ICE on the people that were in the gallery protesting the Senate bill.
"So a little scuffle broke out and I got in there and when I realized what it was about … I got in his face. I put my hands on the guy."
Nevarez told CNN that physical altercations should never happen on the House floor, which is why he challenged Rinaldi to bring the heated discussion outside.
"I said we need to take this outside because it shouldn't get resolved in front of all these people," Nevarez said. "In fact, the DPS — the Texas Department of Public Safety — was removing people from the gallery because they were disorderly. We have rules of conduct.
"I walked away from the guy, but some of my colleagues heard him say he was going to put a bullet in my brain. Later on his Facebook page he said he made that comment because he was worried about something I was going to do to him.
Nevarez ultimately blamed Republicans for continuing to push for crackdowns on illegal immigration.
"We have been pushed and pushed and pushed, and I pushed back," he said.
Rinaldi wrote on his Facebook page Monday that Nevarez had "threatened my life on the House floor," to which he responded by saying he would "shoot him in self defense."
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