It’s been a heated week in Texas government, as conflicts flair between Attorney General Ken Paxton and GOP legislators, namely House Speaker Dade Phelan. On Tuesday, Paxton called for Phelan’s resignation after a video surfaced of the Speaker slurring and appearing to be intoxicated while presiding over a floor session in the legislature. The AG also penned a letter to the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into Speaker Phelan’s conduct.
On Saturday, the Texas House voted to impeach Paxton on 20 articles containing allegations of corruption, with overwhelming bipartisan support of the resolution in a 121-23 vote. Paxton will step down while he is tried in the Senate on charges including bribery, disregard of official duties, and abuse of public trust.
TX AG Ken Paxton Calls for Resignation of Speaker Dade Phelan After Intoxication Allegations in Legislature
Republicans Join With Democrats in Texas to Impeach AG Ken Paxton
Now, former President Donald Trump is pissed. On Saturday, Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, condemning Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his silence on the impeachment, and for not publicly supporting Paxton. On Saturday evening, Trump wrote:
MISSING IN ACTION! Where is the Governor of Texas on his Attorney General’s Impeachment?
After the impeachment vote took place, Trump took to social media, posting the controversial video of Phelan presiding over the House with slurred speech, and seen drinking something from a styrofoam cup during the session, writing:
So this is the RINO who is responsible for the Impeachment of a just re-Elected Attorney General of Texas who has done an outstanding job? What is our Country coming to?
About a half hour before the House hearing on impeachment was scheduled to begin, Trump blasted the process as “unfair” and politically challenged Republicans in the House saying he would “fight them” if the impeachment proceeds. Trump also condemned the effort as “election interference,” writing:
The RINO Speaker of the House of Texas, Dade Phelan, who is barely a Republican at all and failed the test on voter integrity, wants to impeach one of the most hard-working and effective Attorney Generals in the United States, Ken Paxton, who just won re-election with a large number of American Patriots strongly voting for him. You would think that any issue would have been fully adjudicated by the voters of Texas, especially when that vote was so conclusive.
I love Texas, won it twice in landslides, and watched as many other friends, including Ken Paxton, came along with me. Hopefully Republicans in the Texas House will agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or proceed—I will fight you if it does. It is the Radical Left Democrats, RINOS, and Criminals that never stop. ELECTION INTERFERENCE! Free Ken Paxton, let them wait for the next election!
Trump backed Texas AG Ken Paxton against three primary contenders last year, while Paxton has been a loyalist to the former President, filing a lawsuit to challenge the 2020 election results in four battleground states, and speaking onstage ahead of the January 6 Capitol riots.
1/x What is happening to @KenPaxtonTX is a travesty.
For the last nine years, Ken has been the strongest conservative AG in the country. Bar none. No attorney general has battled the abuses of the Biden admin more ferociously—and more effectively—than has Paxton.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 27, 2023
Trump is not the only voice in support of Paxton, Senator Ted Cruz posted a series of tweets on Saturday in opposition to the impeachment, calling it a ‘”travesty” and saying the courts should sort out any alleged wrongdoing, instead. Cruz wrote:
What is happening to @KenPaxtonTX is a travesty. For the last nine years, Ken has been the strongest conservative AG in the country. Bar none. No attorney general has battled the abuses of the Biden admin more ferociously—and more effectively—than has Paxton. That’s why the swamp in Austin wants him out. The special interests don’t want a steadfast conservative AG. I understand that people are concerned about Ken’s legal challenges. But the courts should sort them out. Virtually all of the information in the articles was public BEFORE Election Day, and the voters chose to re-elect Ken Paxton by a large margin. In my view, the Texas Legislature should respect the choice of the Texas voters.
Republican state Representative David Spiller emphasized the principle that no individual, especially not the state’s highest law enforcement official, should be exempt from the law. Paxton has expressed “full confidence” as he approaches the Senate trial. In the meantime, Governor Abbott holds the authority to appoint an interim AG in Paxton’s place.
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