Dan Crenshaw and Sima Ladjevardian Go Toe-to-Toe in Leaked Footage from Houston Chronicle Ed Board

October 9, 2020

HOUSTON, Texas -- Today, leaked footage from the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board’s endorsement screening shows Congressman Dan Crenshaw deflecting personal blame for his conduct during COVID-19 and refusing to take responsibility for his poor conduct while TX-02 Democratic nominee Sima Ladjevardian held him to account. The footage of the full editorial board meeting was leaked by Libertarian candidate Elliot Scheirman, which the Ladjevardian campaign has today cut down to show highlights along with captioning.

Let’s take you through the highlights, fact checks, and cringeworthy Crenshaw moments:


At the onset of the screening, the Chronicle’s editorial board asked Crenshaw if he regretted his rhetoric and personal conduct throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, openly casting doubt on the public health guidelines needed to mitigate the crisis.

He claims: “I’m describing the conflicts that people have with respect to masks. And there is. There still is. That’s just a fact. And there’s no need to run away from that fact.”

After being put on the spot, Crenshaw did everything he could to deflect blame, downplay his own role in spreading disinformation, and avoid taking any responsibility as the editorial board asked him to clear up his own record.

Ladjevardian responded by walking the congressman through a seven-month timeline of his own shameful behaviour while the editorial board asked for clarification that Crenshaw could not provide. That’s why The Intercept noted just two weeks ago that “Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s Coronavirus Rhetoric Has Put His Seat At Risk.”


Crenshaw’s Claim: Per usual, Crenshaw claimed that he’d always protect people with pre-existing conditions, citing the GOP’s “Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2019” for political cover.

Sima’s Fact Check: Ladjevardian dissected that hollow, widely-condemned bill, H.R. 692, rattling off the outspoken opposition of health organizations like the American Cancer Association, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the Susan B. Komen Foundation, and the March of Dimes, among many more. Congressman Crenshaw has long claimed he’ll protect pre-existing conditions while voting not once, but twice in support of the Trump administration’s lawsuit to dismantle Affordable Care Act — which would strip health care from nearly 2 million of Dan’s fellow Texans. But unlike the Affordable Care Act, Crenshaw’s HR 692 bill does not specify what treatments insurance has to cover, does not ban annual or lifetime caps on coverage, and does not ban gender discrimination.contains no firm


Crenshaw’s Claim: The congressman justified breaking his promise to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices by citing a CBO estimate that HR3 would have stopped the production of 30 new life-saving drugs over the next decade. He insinuated that pharmaceutical innovation would come to a complete standstill if we allowed Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to bring down exorbitant costs.

Sima’s Fact Check: Ladjevardian rebutted Crenshaw's “30 new cures” argument by reminding him that nearly 90,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford one of the thousands of life-saving drugs that are already on the pharmacy shelves. She went on to note that the government agencies, like the VA, already negotiate with drug companies — and do so successfully, cutting drug prices down by more than 50 percent for our veterans.  On drug innovation, Sima explained to the congressman that he was arguing on false pretenses. In fact, she noted, nearly 80% of first-stage clinical drug discoveries are made on the taxpayer’s dime, along with 50% of second-stage clinical drugs. “Taxpayers pay for the discovery of these drugs,” Ladjevardian argued, “and they deserve a seat at the table when it comes to drug prices.”


Crenshaw’s Claim: In an attempt to win his argument on drug innovation, Crenshaw invoked his mother’s lost battle with cancer and a clinical trial drug called Taxotere that she was able to access. The congressman argued that this life-saving drug would not have existed without the funding of Big Pharma.

Sima’s Fact Check: Ladjevardian first expressed her remorse and empathy for the congressman’s loss, recalling that her son Dara was 10 years old when at the time of her breast cancer diagnosis — the same age Dan was when he lost his mother. She went on to note, however, that she knew the drug Crenshaw was talking about. Taxotere, the clinical trial drug Crenshaw mentioned, had actually originated as Taxol, a chemotherapy drug discovered and developed on the taxpayer’s dime with NIH-funded research. After having his argument debunked, the congressman claimed Ladjevardian, a breast cancer survivor, does not understand how the treatment and discovery system works.


The leaked footage comes after Sima Ladjevardian released her second TV ad in the race for TX-02: “Doctors.” The ad features Houston-area doctors speaking out against Congressman Dan Crenshaw, his dangerous COVID-19 disinformation, and his broken promise on lowering drug costs. The ad features four area physicians, including one of the 100+ Houston doctors who begged Dan Crenshaw to stop lying as Texas’ death toll soared in July. The ad also slams Crenshaw for breaking his promise to give Medicare negotiating power to lower prescription drug prices. “Doctors” began airing September 29 on Houston broadcast and cable as part of the Ladjevardian campaign’s seven-figure TV ad buy.


Sima Ladjevardian (SEE-ma LAHJ-ee-VAR-DEE-un) is a lawyer, a mother of two, a breast cancer survivor, and a political activist who has called Houston home for more than 30 years. After fleeing the political upheaval of the Iranian Revolution, her family immigrated to the United States for their shot at the American Dream. Eventually settling in Houston, Sima has become a local leader in cross-cultural dialogue, bringing Texans of all backgrounds and faiths together for social justice. As an activist, she has worked tirelessly to turn Texas blue and elect candidates up and down the ballot — all while serving senior roles in Beto O’Rourke's senate and presidential campaigns. She has been recognized by the University of Houston for her tireless philanthropic and nonprofit work in the community, and she is fueled by the desire to fight for quality, affordable health care, justice, and unity in the United States Congress.

Sima has been added to DCCC’s Red to Blue Program and endorsed by EMILY’s List, Congressional Black Caucus PAC, BOLD PAC, End Citizens United, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, AAPI Victory Fund, AAA Fund, Emgage PAC, Giffords PAC, Brady PAC, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Human Rights Campaign, NewDems Action Fund, Texas American Federation of Teachers, Foreign Policy for America, ASPIRE PAC, Texas Organizing Project, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former US Senate/presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, former Sec. of HUD/presidential candidate Julían Castro, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Congresswoman Katie Porter, and Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Dan Crenshaw and Sima Ladjevardian Go Toe-to-Toe in Leaked Footage from Houston Chronicle Ed Board