Paxton Slams House Before Impeachment Trial

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. | Image by Marjorie Kamys Cotera/The Texas Tribune

PLANO — The weekend before his impeachment trial, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton condemned the leadership of the Texas House, alleging that the Republican-led body is really under Democrat control.

Speaking to a full crowd at the 2023 Labor Day Picnic hosted by the Collin County Republican Party on Saturday, Paxton said he could not discuss his upcoming impeachment trial due to a gag order issued by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

“But I can talk about something that I think has become maybe the leading issue we need to deal with as a country, and the state needs to deal with it,” Paxton said. “That is something known as the Texas House of Representatives and the leadership in the Texas House of Representatives.”

The crowd cheered in support of the embattled attorney general.

“We all know now the name Dade Phelan. We saw the videos of what happened, and we see his leadership,” Paxton continued.

Immediately before the impeachment investigation into Paxton was revealed, the attorney general had called upon Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) to resign after videos showing him seemingly drunk on the dais went viral on social media, as reported by The Dallas Express.

To this day, Phelan has not answered questions regarding the videos, which show him struggling to stand, slurring his words, and appearing disoriented while conducting business in the House.

“I want to explain to you — a lot of people don’t understand this because you’re not going to read about it in the media,” Paxton continued. “But the way the Texas House of Representatives now works is there are about 65 Democrats, and they have figured out that if they vote as a block, they get to pick the Republican who is their speaker.”

“And the deal is worked. Whatever Republican can give the Democrats the most gets all 65 Democrats,” Paxton claimed. “Then that speaker has his or her vote and has to get 10 more Republicans, which is not that hard when you start promising committee assignments. … That’s how we get the decision making in the Texas House that doesn’t look like Republican decisions.”

Before leaving the stage, he urged people to join him in stopping Phelan and his allies, saying, “Let’s clean house.”

Speaker Phelan and his allies in the House, such as Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction), have received criticism from other lawmakers and Republican organizations for allegedly killing conservative legislative priorities and siding with Democrats.

Nevertheless, Phelan has defended the impeachment of Paxton, saying, “I stand behind what happened in the House, and I’m proud of the work product that the board of managers put forth. And we have a good team. And it was the right thing to do,” as reported by The Dallas Express.

Phelan added, “I hope external pressures will not play a part in what I think is a very important piece of democracy, and that is … checks and balances on someone who did something wrong.”

Despite often being at odds with the Senate, the speaker also said, “I firmly believe that Lieutenant Governor Patrick and his senators will give a very fair trial to Mr. Paxton.”

The Senate will begin Paxton’s impeachment trial on September 5, with Lt. Gov. Patrick sitting as the presiding officer.

House members previously voted in favor of 20 articles of impeachment, which claim Paxton repeatedly disregarded his official duty, abused his office to protect and benefit a political donor by terminating whistleblowers in violation of state law, concealed Department of Public Safety records in the furtherance of wrongdoing, misapplied public resources during a legal battle with whistleblowers from his office, and engaged in a bribery scheme, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

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