February 11, 2024

Texas GOP censures state House Speaker Dade Phelan

The Texas Republican party on Saturday censured Rep. Dade Phelan, currently serving as speaker of the state House of Representatives, as The Hill reports.

Phelan courted controversy and drew the ire of many of his legislative colleagues for his vote to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton last year.

Texas GOP takes action

A press release issued by the state GOP outlined the actions taken against the House speaker.

“The Republican Party of Texas officially censured Representative Dade Phelan today, imposing the full set of penalties allowed by the rules, for lack of fidelity to Republican principles and priorities,” the communication read.

Reciting the technicalities of the move, the press release added, “Rule 44 of the Republican Party of Texas allows the party to censure elected officials who violate Republican Party of Texas principles and priorities three times or more in a given biennium.”

As such, they claimed, Phelan was deserving of censure due to five areas of violation, including his vote to impeach Paxton, his appointment of Democrats to key committee positions, as well as his actions in the areas of “border security” and “educational freedom.”

Controversial tenure

Though Phelan's stance against Paxton was viewed as a significant driver of the censure initiative, his time as speaker has not been without a host of other controversies as well.

Last May, Phelan was the subject of criticism and mockery for an incident in which he appeared to be conducting House business while intoxicated, as KXAN reported at the time.

Video of Phelan's unusual presentation at the House dais was circulated among members of the legislature, with Greg Price of the State Freedom Caucus declaring, “It appears that TX House Speaker Dade Phelan is either really drunk or having a stroke.”

Former state Rep. Jonathan Strickland said at the time, “Watching the Speaker be this wasted is absolutely unacceptable. These Representatives are making laws that impact 30 million Texans. It must stop.”

Trump weighs in

Even prior to Phelan's formal censure, former President Donald Trump, a longtime ally of Paxton's, endorsed a candidate who stepped forward to challenge the speaker in his primary race.

“David Covey is running against Dade Phelan, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, who led the Fraudulent Impeachment of the recently re-elected, in a landslide, Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton,” Trump wrote, and considering everything that has happened in recent weeks, that could turn out to be the death knell for the speaker's political future, at least in the near term.

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