Texas state Senator Wendy Davis' (D) daughters, Amber and Dru Davis, are defending their mother's parenting amid attacks from conservatives that Davis 'abandoned' her children to pursue higher education. Davis' gubernatorial campaign issued a press release Tuesday that contained the daughters' response in an open letter.
After a Dallas Morning News article called into question certain aspects of Davis' history as described on the campaign trail, such as when she was divorced (officially at 21, and not at 19) and for exactly how long she and her family lived in a mobile home, those opposed to Davis' candidacy began picking apart her background.
Erick Erickson, a Fox News pundit and founder of RedState.com, tweeted "Abortion Barbie had a Sugar Daddy Ken," referencing the fact that Davis' second husband helped pay for a portion of her law degree. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol Palin criticized Davis last week for attending Harvard Law School in the early 1990s while her daughters stayed with her second husband in Texas.
"She left her kid, husband, made it into a false 'made-for-TV-movie-type-tale' and then demanded that Texans have the right to kill babies," Palin wrote. "That’s the woman you libs can really get behind!"
Amidst all the noise, Davis' daughters' attempted to set the record straight about their mother's history as a wife and parent.
Dru Davis called the attacks against her mother "malicious," and a "false charge of abandonment:"
Yes, she went to law school after my sister and I were born. We lived with her the first semester, but I had severe asthma and the weather there wasn't good for me. My parents made a decision for my sister and me to stay in Texas while my mom kept going to school. But that doesn't mean she wasn't there for us. She traveled back and forth all the time, missing so many classes so that she could be with us. Her friends were such a big help. Especially her third year, when she would only go to school two weeks out of the month and her friends would share class notes so she could try to keep up while she was home with us in Fort Worth. I love that my mom went to law school and was dedicated to both her work and us. Watching her work so hard to achieve something great has been one of the most important lessons in my life.
Amber Davis added to the family's narrative about Davis' time at Harvard Law School, and called the comments about her mother "ludicrous:" "Yes, we lived in a trailer. Does it matter how long?"
Dru and I lived with her the first semester but our parents soon realized that it would be better if we stayed in our childhood home in Texas, be around extended family and attend our regular schools. This was a decision made by both parents. I have recently heard the phrase "abandoned" quite often in the past week. That our mother "left us to be raised by our father" while she went on to pursue her education. Not only is this ridiculously unfair; it's completely untrue. Dru and I have always been her number one priority. Always. And every decision our parents made was with our best interests at heart. We had an amazing support system while she was at Harvard and she was constantly traveling back and forth from school to be with us. I’m proud that my parents were able to make this arrangement work. People should be less concerned about who paid for what and pay more attention to the fact that she was accepted to Harvard law school, a dream she believed was unachievable.
Becky Haskins, a Republican who served with Davis on the Fort Worth City Council, has also come to the gubernatorial candidate's defense and deemed the attacks sexist.
"If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up," Haskins told the Star-Telegram. "It’s so sad. Every time I ran, somebody said I needed to be home with my kids. Nobody ever talks about men being responsible parents."