Former President Donald Trump on Saturday gave his full support to Ken Paxton as the Texas attorney general faces historic impeachment proceedings led by Republicans in the state.
Trump took to Truth Social to praise the embattled attorney general and condemn both “radical left-wing Democrats” and “RINOS.”
“I love Texas, won it twice in landslides, and saw many other friends, including Ken Paxton, ride with me,” Trump wrote. “Hopefully Republicans in the Texas House will agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or continue – I will fight you if it does.”
Trump went after Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan in particular, whom Trump called “barely a Republican at all.” Trump also declared the proceedings “election interference” and said “Free Ken Paxton, let them wait for the next election!”
In 2020, Paxton asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s election defeat by President Joe Biden.
Scandals have followed Paxton throughout his career, with the latest accusations of bribery and breach of public trust leading the GOP-majority House to meet on Saturday to begin impeachment proceedings.
If impeached – as the third official in Texas history to suffer such a fate – Paxton would be removed from office pending a Senate trial. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint an interim replacement. Permanent withdrawal would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, of which Paxton’s wife, Angela, is a member.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also expressed support for Paxton, calling the impeachment proceedings a “travesty” in a series of Tweets on Saturday.
“No attorney general has fought the abuses of the Biden administrator more fiercely — and more effectively — than Paxton,” Cruz wrote. “That’s why the Austin Marsh wants him out. Special interests do not want a steadfast conservative AG. I understand people are concerned about Ken’s legal challenges. But the courts should settle them.
In a statement released ThursdayPaxton called the charges “hearsay and gossip,” before claiming the impeachment proceedings were “an attempt to subvert the will of the people and deprive voters of our state.”
On Friday, he called on his supporters to “peacefully come and make their voices heard on Capitol Hill tomorrow.”
During Saturday’s proceedings, Republican State Rep. Charlie Geren stood up to allege that several members of the House body received direct phone calls from Paxton threatening their political careers.
“I would like to point out that several members of this House, while on the floor of this House, doing the business of the state, received telephone calls from [Attorney] General Paxton personally, threatening them with political consequences in their next election,” Geren said.