Dan Crenshaw

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Dan Crenshaw
Dan Crenshaw, official portrait, 116th Congress 2.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byTed Poe
Personal details
Born
Daniel Reed Crenshaw

(1984-03-14) March 14, 1984 (age 37)
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Tara Blake
(m. 2013)
Education
Signature
Website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service2006–2016
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant Commander
Unit
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan (WIA)
Awards

Daniel Reed Crenshaw[1] (born March 14, 1984)[2] is an American politician and former United States Navy SEAL officer serving as the United States Representative for Texas's 2nd congressional district since 2019. The district includes parts of northern and western Houston. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Crenshaw was commissioned in the United States Navy, and served on SEAL Team 3 in the War in Afghanistan, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was wounded in action during his third deployment, losing his right eye to an improvised explosive device. He served as a legislative assistant to Representative Pete Sessions, and was elected to Congress in the 2018 midterm election to succeed the retiring Ted Poe.

Early life and education[edit]

Born to American parents in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK,[3][4] Crenshaw grew up in Katy, Texas.[5] His mother died of cancer when he was ten years old.[6][7] His father, Jim Crenshaw, is a petroleum engineer who worked abroad, and Crenshaw spent time growing up in Ecuador and Colombia, developing proficiency in Spanish.[8] He graduated from Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogotá in 2002.[8]

After high school, Crenshaw returned to the United States and attended Tufts University, graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.[9] After a decade of military service, he studied public administration at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, receiving a Master of Public Administration in 2017.[10] He worked as a military legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Pete Sessions.[9][11]

Military service[edit]

While at Tufts, Crenshaw joined the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and received an officer's commission in the U.S. Navy after graduation.[12] He received orders to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. After six months of training, Crenshaw graduated with BUD/S class 264.[13] He completed SEAL qualification training in June 2008 and received the 1130 designator as a Naval Special Warfare Officer, entitled to wear the Special Warfare Insignia. Crenshaw served in the Navy SEALs for ten years[14] and five tours of duty,[15] reaching the rank of lieutenant commander.[10] His first deployment was to Fallujah, Iraq, where he joined SEAL Team Three.[16] He was based out of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in Coronado, California.[17]

As a Navy SEAL, Crenshaw was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, one with "V" device, the Purple Heart, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with valor.[18] He medically retired from military service in 2016 with the rank of lieutenant commander.[14]

Crenshaw lost his right eye in 2012 during his third deployment when he was hit by an IED explosion in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. The blast destroyed his eye, and he required surgery to save the vision in his left eye.[14] He remained in the Navy for four years after the injury, and served his fourth and fifth tours of duty in Bahrain and South Korea.[14] In 2021, the retina in his left eye began to detach, so he underwent emergency surgery in April. As he recovers, he expects to be virtually blind for about a month. He says that "I don’t have a ‘good eye,’ but half a good eye."[19]

U.S House of Representatives[edit]

Election[edit]

2018[edit]

In 2018, Crenshaw ran for the United States House of Representatives in Texas's 2nd congressional district, which includes northern and western Houston, including Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Spring, and the Rice University area, to succeed the retiring Ted Poe.[20] He announced his candidacy in November 2017.[21] Crenshaw credited national security analyst John Noonan for encouraging him to run for Congress.[22] In a February 2018 interview, he said that border security and immigration reform would be two of his campaign issues.[23]

Crenshaw and Kevin Roberts advanced from the nine-candidate first round of the Republican primary election to face each other in a runoff election;[24] Crenshaw received 155 votes more than Kathaleen Wall,[25] a candidate backed by Senator Ted Cruz[26] and Governor Greg Abbott.[27] The lead-up to the runoff election was contentious.[28] A super PAC funded by Roberts's brother-in-law, Mark Lanier, focused on Crenshaw's 2015 criticisms of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, despite Roberts having also been critical of Trump in the past. The ads also compared Crenshaw's policy proposals to the likes of President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders.[29][30] Gaining the endorsement of Senator Tom Cotton, Crenshaw received national attention, appearing in print and television, including on Laura Ingraham's show on Fox Business.[31]

Crenshaw won the runoff to advance to the November general election.[32][33] On November 6, he defeated Democratic nominee Todd Litton, 52.8% to 45.6%.[34][35] After the election, Crenshaw called for the depoliticization of comedy and sports and expressed a desire that political rhetoric be toned down.[36]

On the November 3 episode of Saturday Night Live, comedian Pete Davidson joked about the appearances of multiple candidates in the 2018 midterm elections, and described Crenshaw as looking like a "hit man in a porno movie" while adding that he lost his eye in "war or whatever". The joke received widespread criticism,[37][38] and on the following episode, Davidson and Crenshaw appeared on air together. Davidson offered an apology, which Crenshaw accepted.[6][39] Crenshaw and others have speculated that the joke may have helped him win,[40][41] as well as aided later fundraising.[42]

2020[edit]

Crenshaw was reelected in 2020, defeating Democratic nominee Sima Ladjevardian[43] with 55.61% of the vote to Ladjevardian's 42.79%.[44] During the campaign, he spent over $11 million through October 16, 2020, making it one of the most expensive Congressional races in the country.[42]

Tenure[edit]

Crenshaw spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention on August 26, 2020.[45][46]

The Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs implicated Crenshaw and V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie in a 2020 report as having engaged in a campaign of disparagement toward a female veteran who reported sexual assault to the Navy. Crenshaw said, "The Democrats created this narrative".[47][48]

Committee assignment

Previous assignments:

Caucus membership

Political positions[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Crenshaw opposes abortion.[53][54] In 2019, he received a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee.[55] He has said that "life starts at conception", that he believes Roe v. Wade was a "bad precedent to set", and that abortion rights "should be decided by the states".[54]

Gun rights[edit]

Crenshaw opposes gun control measures including bans on semi-automatic firearms.[56][57] In response to the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, he suggested exploring red flag laws as a possible solution to gun violence.[58] In 2020, he received a 92% rating from the National Rifle Association.[59]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Crenshaw said that Democrats and the media were exaggerating the threat.[60] He was a high-profile defender of Trump's response to the pandemic. He did not wear face masks consistently in settings advised by health experts and mandated by Texas Governor Abbott.[61][62]

Crenshaw argued that FDA regulations impeded the development of COVID-19 tests.[63][64]

Healthcare[edit]

Crenshaw favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), describing it as an "unmitigated disaster".[65] During his 2018 campaign, he advocated allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, becoming one of a handful of Republicans to endorse what was primarily a progressive idea.[66] By 2019, however, Crenshaw had retreated from this position.[66]

On May 24, 2019, Crenshaw co-sponsored a bill to extend time limits for claims under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.[67][68][69]

Donald Trump[edit]

Crenshaw with President Donald Trump in December 2019

Although Crenshaw had criticized some of Trump's statements in a 2015 Facebook post, he became a "staunch defender" of Trump after the 2016 election.[70][71] He voted against both articles of impeachment the House of Representatives brought against Trump in 2019.[72]

In 2020, Crenshaw defended the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[73][74] In a video Trump retweeted, Crenshaw rebutted criticisms that the Trump administration had been slow in responding to the virus.[73]

Crenshaw spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, calling the United States "a country of heroes."[75][76] He was one of few convention speakers not to mention Trump.[77][78]

In December 2020, Crenshaw was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump.[79][80][81] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[82][83][84]

In 2021, Crenshaw criticized the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by Trump supporters and said that Trump should have personally ordered the protesters to stop. He also urged the protesters to "Stop this bullshit right now" on Twitter.[85][86] Crenshaw condemned the rioting and some of his fellow congressional Representatives for "saying constantly this is our time to fight."[87] While not naming any politicians, Crenshaw stated they were "lying to millions" and scattered when there was an actual threat to the Capitol. He deemed efforts to fight the Electoral College vote certification unconstitutional, and voted against the objections to the electoral vote in both Arizona and Pennsylvania, but defended Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley against allegations that they stoked the riot.[88][89][90] Crenshaw voted against the second impeachment of Donald Trump on January 13, 2021.[91] Despite voting against impeachment, Crenshaw defended Liz Cheney in her dissent favoring impeachment, saying she "has a hell of a lot more backbone than most".[92]

Election reform[edit]

In 2019, Crenshaw voiced opposition to the For the People Act of 2019, saying it would "limit free speech drastically". He also said the bill would use taxpayer money to "legalize" the kind of electoral fraud that he alleges occurred in the 2018 North Carolina's 9th congressional district election.[93] PolitiFact rated Crenshaw's assertion about the North Carolina race "false", adding, "nothing in the bill that expands who can collect absentee ballots, allows people to fill out ballots for others, or loosens witnessing procedures for absentee ballots", as happened in that election.[93][94]

Environment[edit]

During Crenshaw's 2018 campaign, his website made brief mention of global warming, applauding Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords.[95] Crenshaw called the agreement "costly and meaningless", virtue signaling, and bad policy.[95] He also said, "We must use our money to develop better infrastructure."[95] In 2018, Crenshaw called for a debate on the causes of climate change, adding, "We can't start off the conversation saying the climate is settled. The right way to have this conversation is to actually listen to what the science says on both sides."[96]

In 2019, Crenshaw said, "climate change is occurring and that man-made emissions play a part in that. What isn't clear is how our actions will serve to reverse that warming trend, and what the cost-benefit outcome would be. Regardless, we should continue pursuing new green energy solutions that lessen our impact on the environment and create cleaner air and water."[96] In 2020 he criticized solar and wind power as "silly solutions" that "don't work," and instead advocated expanding nuclear energy and carbon capture technology.[97]

During the 2021 Texas power crisis, Crenshaw argued that the Green New Deal would lead to similar crises.[98]

Immigration[edit]

In 2016, Crenshaw harshly criticized then-candidate Trump's "insane rhetoric" toward Muslims and "hateful" speech.[99] During Crenshaw's 2018 campaign, he defended Trump's proposal to build a border wall on the Mexico–United States border.[56] In a May 2019 appearance on The View, he claimed that 80–90% of asylum seeker requests "don't have a valid asylum claim". PolitiFact rated his statement "false", asserting that while it is true that between 20 and 30 percent of asylum requests per year have been granted since 2009, some of the rejected applications may still hold legal merit.[100]

Social issues[edit]

Crenshaw believes that government should not be involved in regulating marriage and has expressed support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.[101][102] In 2015, he took issue with people trying to suggest Christianity is as shocking and as violent as Islam, saying, "the worst thing modern Christianity stands for is anti-homosexual marriage, which is a far cry from sex slaves, sharia law and beheadings."[103][104]

In the case of a 7-year-old who at the age of 3 began to identify as a girl after being born male and was the subject of a custody battle in which the father opposed and the mother supported the child's gender transition, Crenshaw opined in favor of the father. Following a judge's decision to grant custody to the mother, Crenshaw called it "heartbreaking" and added, "[a] 7-year-old can't possibly make this decision or understand it. Parents should know better. I hope this father receives the public support he needs."[105]

Crenshaw opposes federal funding to "subsidize college in general", but supports it in cases of vocational training.[56] He opposes "cancel culture",[106] and athletes kneeling during the national anthem.[107] He called Senator Tammy Duckworth unpatriotic for wanting a discussion on which statues to remove, including those of George Washington.[108]

Foreign policy[edit]

Crenshaw supports cooperation with and support for Israel.[7][109] During some of his public appearances, he has been targeted by anti-semitic white nationalists, known as Groypers, for his pro-Israel views.[110][111]

In 2019, Crenshaw co-sponsored a resolution opposing Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying that it would embolden the Turkish military's assault on the Kurdish forces.[112] He supported Trump's decision to kill Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani.[113][114]

Crenshaw and Senator Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would allow civil suits against foreign states in incidents related to injury or death. The legislation came in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for the Chinese government to be held accountable for "allow[ing] this virus to spread".[115]

Electoral history[edit]

2018[edit]

Republican primary results, 2018[116]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Roberts 15,273 33.0
Republican Dan Crenshaw 12,679 27.4
Republican Kathaleen Wall 12,524 27.1
Republican Rick Walker 3,320 7.2
Republican Johnny Havens 936 2.0
Republican Justin Lurie 425 0.9
Republican Jon Spiers 418 0.9
Republican David Balat 348 0.8
Republican Malcolm Whittaker 322 0.7
Total votes 46,245 100.0
Republican primary runoff results, 2018[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Crenshaw 20,322 69.8
Republican Kevin Roberts 8,760 30.2
Total votes 29,082 100.0
Texas's 2nd congressional district, 2018[117]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Crenshaw 139,188 52.8
Democratic Todd Litton 119,992 45.6
Libertarian Patrick Gunnels 2,373 0.9
Independent Scott Cubbler 1,839 0.7
Total votes 263,392 100.0
Republican hold

2020[edit]

Republican primary results, 2020[118]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Crenshaw (incumbent) 48,693 100.0
Total votes 48,693 100.0
Texas's 2nd congressional district, 2020[118]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dan Crenshaw (incumbent) 192,828 55.6
Democratic Sima Ladjevardian 148,374 42.8
Libertarian Elliott Robert Scheirman 5,524 1.6
Total votes 346,726 100.0
Republican hold

Personal life[edit]

Crenshaw married Tara Blake in 2013.[6] He is a Methodist[119] and hosts Hold These Truths, a podcast he launched in February 2020.[120]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2020, Fortune magazine included Crenshaw in its 40 Under 40 in the "Government and Politics" category, writing that he "wears his service to his country on his face."[121]

Works[edit]

  • Dan Crenshaw (2020). Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage. New York: Twelve. ISBN 978-1-5387-3330-1.[7] Nearly $400,000 worth of copies of the book were purchased by the National Republican Congressional Committee.[122]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ted Poe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Angie Craig
United States representatives by seniority
307th
Succeeded by
Jason Crow