Dec 4, 2023 - News

Texas GOP rejects ban on associating with Nazi sympathizers

A mustachioed man looking on at a hearing

Outgoing State Rep. Andrew Murr (right) once said of allegations against Attorney General Ken Paxton: "It curls my mustache." Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

Members of the Texas GOP's executive committee voted 32-29 over the weekend to reject a proposed ban on party members associating with Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers.

Why it matters: The votes highlight the cultural and political rift among Republican state leaders, who have publicly feuded this year over property tax relief, school vouchers and the push to oust Paxton, among other things.

  • Roughly half of the committee also tried to prevent a record of their vote from being kept, according to the Texas Tribune.

Flashback: 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.

  • 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 Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
  • Matt Rinaldi, chairman of the Texas GOP, was also seen entering the Pale Horse offices while Fuentes was inside, though he's said he didn't know Fuentes was there, per the Tribune.

Between the lines: Paxton has vowed to get retribution against House Republicans who voted to impeach him before he was acquitted.

  • Gov. Greg Abbott has refused to endorse Republicans who voted against his proposals for school vouchers.

Of note: Murr, who represents a large swath of the Hill Country, announced last month that he won't seek reelection.

What they're saying: Committee members who opposed the ban argued that words like "tolerate" or "antisemitism" were too vague or subjective — or that a ban on associating with Nazi sympathizers was similar to "leftist" tactics.

  • "It could put you on a slippery slope," committee member Dan Tully said, according to the Tribune.

The other side: Committee members who supported the ban found those arguments specious.

  • "I just don't understand how people who routinely refer to others as leftists, liberals, communists, socialists and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) don't have the discernment to define what a Nazi is," committee member Morgan Cisneros Graham told the Tribune after the vote.
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