Republicans in Texas have been publicly criticizing each other over the impeachment of Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton ahead of his trial beginning on Tuesday, The New York Times reported Monday.
Paxton, a three-term incumbent, was impeached by the Texas House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote on May 27 on 20 counts relating to alleged misconduct while in office.
Paxton, who is suspended from his duties until the trial concludes, and his allies have published attack ads critical of supporters of his impeachment, who have also made media appearances supporting the process, according to the NYT.
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“People know this is a political witch hunt. They’re doing it to Trump, they’re trying to do it to Paxton,” Jonathan Strickland, who leads the pro-Paxton Defend Texas Liberty PAC, said on talk radio, according to the Times.
Defend Texas Liberty placed a highway-side billboard in Stevens County, Texas, that reads “Glenn Rogers joined 61 Democrats to impeach Ken Paxton,” referring to Republican state Rep. Glenn Rogers, according to the Times.
Rogers has stated that “over 70 percent of Republicans voted the same way I did,” according to comments on CBS News.
“This is something our PAC, again, has done consistently with liberal Republicans wherever they are in the state,” PAC director Luke Macias said, according to an interview with CBS. He added that “we’re looking at billboards across the entire state.”
“I know that processes can be abused … but that isn’t what I see here,” former Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote, according to the Times. He has also condemned the “coordinated effort of texts, emails and social-media posts” from Paxton supporters, and said that they were “working to delegitimize the impeachment proceedings,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
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Supporters of Paxton have painted the effort in ideological terms. StandwithPaxton.com, a website run by GOP donor Steven F. Hotze, lists the opponents of Paxton as being “big pharma,” “big tech,” “Mexican drug cartels” and “Trans medical clinics.”
“There is a rift [in the Texas GOP] and it’s unfortunate,” said Republican state Rep. Justin Holland, who voted to impeach, to CBS.
Paxton did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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