EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Texas State Guard has criticized a regiment commander for sending a scathing email to his subordinates after one of them posted a petition on the White House website asking that Texas be allowed to secede from the United States.
The email sent by Cmdr. Howard Palmer said that "any mention of secession better happen on a civilian venue, as private citizens registering an opinion, with no connection to Texas Military Forces. It's only talk, and rather ignorant talk at that. If you've already done something to call attention to yourself or our regiment in this matter, make it go away."
The email was sent on Nov. 14, five days after Texas guardsman Micah Hurd posted a petition on the White House's website asking that Texas be allowed to withdraw from the union.
National Guard spokeswoman Col. Amy Cook said "there is nothing wrong at all with what Mr. Hurd did ... the email asking him not to talk about it is not what should have happened."
The Texas State Guard is part of the National Guard. Hurd was acting as an individual rather than as a member of the military when he posted the petition, Cook said.
Cook would not comment on whether Palmer was reprimanded for the way he handled the request by Texas Guard Chief of Staff Col. Paul Watkins asking that the organization not be linked to the online postings about Texas seceding.
Hurd's father, Patrick Hurd, told The Associated Press his son also was instructed not to speak to the media. Cook said that prohibition also wasn't necessary.
Patrick Hurd said the issue now appears to be moot. He said his son spoke with everyone in the chain of command over the weekend and shook hands with them all. It was "like nothing ever happened," the elder Hurd said.
Hurd's petition has gathered more than 120,000 signatures, well above the 25,000-supporter threshold imposed by the White House before a petition gets an official response from the government.
On the same day as Hurd posted that request, people from Alabama and North Carolina also asked their states be allowed to secede. The next day residents from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina did the same. Those petitions have garnered between 25,000 and 30,000 supporters each. There also is a petition to deport supporters of secession.