Feb 12, 2024 - News

Texas GOP infighting continues

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan gavels in the House chamber in 2021. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

Meeting in Austin on Saturday, the Texas GOP's executive committee voted to censure House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, 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 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, writes Axios' Shauneen Miranda.

  • 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 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 the executive committee "has lost its moral authority and is no longer representative of the views of the Party as a whole."

Of note: Reversing course, the Texas GOP executive committee also passed a measure Saturday banning antisemites from the party.

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