In a recent interview following the acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said House Speaker Dade Phelan needed to be a man and admit he was wrong to push impeachment.
The comments from Patrick come as a part of the developing political conflict between the Senate and the House after the overwhelming acquittal of Paxton following the supermajority impeachment in the House.
After the vote on the final impeachment article, Patrick took the House to task for breaking over a century of precedent in rushing to impeach Paxton during the regular session’s final days, as The Dallas Express reported.
“The Speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide-elected official in Texas in over 100 years while paying no attention to the precedent,” he claimed. “The House process was indefensible and … their case was based on triple hearsay that would never be allowed in court.”
Phelan (R-Beaumont) snapped back at Patrick, claiming the verdict had been rigged.
“Patrick attacked the House for standing up against corruption. His tirade disrespects the Constitutional impeachment process afforded to us by the founders of this great state,” he claimed. “The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start.”
On the air with commentator Chris Salcedo, Patrick condemned Phelan’s allegations as a foolish “conspiracy theory,” alleging that the speaker was attempting to skirt responsibility for the unsuccessful impeachment.
“He just needs to be a man,” Patrick said of Phelan. “He just needs to step up and say, ‘Look, we were wrong. We rushed this. This case fell because of our process.’”
“All those Republicans who voted for this, who had their arms twisted to vote for it, they should say, ‘You know what, I made a mistake voters. I’m sorry. I listened to the speaker. This was a rush to judgment. I was wrong,’” he added, speaking to the 60 House Republicans who voted to impeach.
“I say conspiracy theory because Dade [Phelan] has to say something and blame it on something. Otherwise, they realize he was the one who drove it all,” Patrick claimed. “He was the one who put them at risk.”
Prior to the impeachment, Phelan received substantial criticism for seemingly being drunk on the dais while conducting official House business, prompting Paxton to call on the speaker to resign. The impeachment investigation of the attorney general was announced shortly afterward.
Mitch Little, one of Paxton’s defense attorneys, suggested that Paxton’s resignation demand prompted the rushed impeachment vote.
“What dawned on me is as soon as the fiasco with the speaker happened and Paxton attacked him publicly, they said, ‘OK, this thing is cooked enough, we’ll take it medium rare,” Little reasoned, adding that the articles of impeachment were “never intended to go over at that time, and then it became urgent.”
All in all, Patrick told Salcedo during his interview that he was unbothered by the allegations against him and the Senate.
“I don’t pay any attention to it,” the lieutenant governor said.
“It’s a bunch of losers who are crying now in their beer, saying, ‘Oh, well, it has to be someone else. We did our job,’” he added. “They did nothing.”