Former President Donald Trump has strongly criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his lack of comment on the unprecedented impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton was impeached on Saturday by the state House of Representatives on charges encompassing bribery and violation of public trust, documented in 20 separate articles.
Following the impeachment vote, Paxton’s duties were momentarily halted, pending the conclusion of a trial in the state Senate which is predominantly Republican. This development also bestowed Abbott with the authority to assign an interim replacement. The timeline for a potential trial remains uncertain.
Governor Abbott, who held the position of state attorney general before Paxton assumed office in 2015, has avoided making any public statements regarding Paxton throughout the week, including in the aftermath of Saturday’s impeachment.
Abbott’s silence prompted Trump to write on his social media platform: “MISSING IN ACTION! Where is the Governor of Texas on his Attorney General’s Impeachment?”
In an earlier Truth Social post, the former president wrote that he would “fight” House Republicans if they proceeded with the impeachment.
He lashed out in particular at Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who he called “barely a Republican at all.”
Trump, presently leading the pack for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, has further labeled the impeachment proceedings as “election interference.”
Paxton, a staunch supporter of Trump, had previously petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the 2020 election outcomes that were not in Trump’s favor.
In reaction to his impeachment, Paxton vehemently condemned it as “illegal, unethical, and profoundly unjust.”
“The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just,” Paxton said in a statement, as reported by Newsweek. “It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning.”
The Texas Attorney General, Paxton, looks towards a swift resolution in the ongoing state Senate proceedings, according to his statement. He remains backed by strong conservative allies, one of whom is his spouse, state Sen. Angela Paxton.
Paxton, serving his third term as Texas attorney general after winning in the November elections, has been under the FBI’s radar for years. The allegations surrounding him involve purported abuse of his office power to favor Nate Paul, a real estate tycoon and campaign donor. In a separate incident, Paxton was indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015. However, the trial for these charges has not taken place yet.
Prominent Republicans such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are standing firm in their support for Paxton. Both politicians recently expressed their views via Twitter. Cruz labeled the impeachment proceedings as “a travesty,” while Greene likened it to a “witch hunt.” Furthermore, Cruz suggested that Paxton’s legal issues should be adjudicated in the courts, rather than through impeachment.
“Virtually all of the information in the articles was public BEFORE Election Day, and the voters chose to re-elect Ken Paxton by a large margin,” Cruz wrote. “In my view, the Texas Legislature should respect the choice of the Texas voters.”
Kari Lake, a Republican who lost last year’s race for Arizona governor and is a staunch Trump ally, also defended Paxton. “I stand with him against this unconstitutional uniparty impeachment effort,” she wrote in a recent tweet.