AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says criticism of him directing the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise dubbed "Jade Helm 15" is an overreaction.
Abbott on Monday defended using his office to address Internet-fueled suspicions that an upcoming Army war simulation is really a hostile military takeover. It was the first time the Republican has talked about his order that became a target of bipartisan ridicule last week.
A White House spokesman said he had "no idea" what Abbott was thinking. A former Republican state lawmaker accused the new governor of "pandering to idiots."
Abbott said he has seen nothing about the simulation that should cause worry. When asked whether addressing the rumors legitimized fringe theories, Abbott said no, saying he was responding to questions from citizens.
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