Texas GOP censures House Speaker Dade Phelan
The Texas GOP's executive committee voted to censure House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) on Saturday for his part in the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton and appointing Democrats to chair House committees, among other issues.
The big picture: The censure measure is another instance of the deep infighting that has marked the Texas GOP in the past year, with an ultra-conservative faction often battling with other party members.
- Phelan previously called on the GOP to cut ties with "the rot" that exists within the party.
- He has faced multiple calls from state and national party members, including former President Trump, to step down, especially after leading the House to impeach Paxton in May 2023. The Senate later acquitted Paxton.
Driving the news: The committee voted 55-4 to censure Phelan "for lack of fidelity to Republican principles and priorities," per a statement.
- The party cited a rule within the state's GOP, which "allows the party to censure elected officials who violate Republican Party of Texas principles and priorities three times or more in a given biennium."
- The committee cited five instances — including Paxton's impeachment and Democratic committee chairs, as well as "border security, and educational freedom."
The other side: Cait Wittman, a spokesperson for Phelan, took to X on Saturday, saying: "This is the same organization that rolled out the red carpet for a group of Neo-Nazis, refused to disassociate from anti-Semitic groups and balked at formally condemning a known sexual predator before he was ousted from the Texas House."
- Wittman added that the executive committee "has lost its moral authority and is no longer representative of the views of the Party as a whole."
Meanwhile, the committee also passed an antisemitism resolution on Saturday — marking a reversal from a similar measure that had been rejected in December, per the Texas Tribune.
Catch up quick: The Texas GOP in December rejected a proposed ban on associating with Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers.
- In October, the Tribune published photos of white supremacist leader Nick Fuentes — who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and called for a "holy war" against Jews — at the offices of Pale Horse Strategies, a Fort Worth political consulting firm owned by former Republican state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, Axios Dallas' Michael Mooney reports.
- Stickland was also the leader of Defend Texas Liberty, a political action committee funded by two West Texas oil billionaires, that has supported both Paxton and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Mooney also reports.
The chairman of the Texas GOP, Matt Rinaldi, was also seen entering the Pale Horse offices while Fuentes was inside, though he said he didn't know Fuentes was there, per the Tribune.