Texas attorney general faces backlash for threat to sue Austin city officials over mask mandates

Texas attorney general faces backlash for threat to sue Austin city officials over mask mandates
Image via Screengrab.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is taking aim at Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) and city officials for incorporating a mask mandate within city limits following Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) decision to lift all of the state's coronavirus mitigation guidelines.

On Wednesday, March 10, Paxton tweeted a message aimed at Austin city officials as he threatened to sue city officials for defying the state's newly-incorporated guidelines regarding face masks. At the time, he also gave the city a deadline to rescind its mask requirement.

"City/county leaders must not be thinking clearly. Maybe it's oxygen deprivation from quintuple-masking," Paxton said. "Whatever the case, they've tried this before. They lost. Travis County and Austin have a few hours to comply with state law or I'll sue them. And they'll lose again."

The post quickly spawned critical reactions from hundreds of Twitter users who pushed back against Paxton's threat. One Twitter user wrote, "What if the majority of Austinites want the mask?? Have you stopped to consider that possibility?"

Another user wrote, "Wearing a mask does not deprive you [of] oxygen. Also.. Business have the right to ask for masks. I'm glad everywhere I have been, people are wearing their masks. By their own free will. Maybe if you get us some more vaccines we would not need masks."

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar (D) also took to Twitter with a response to Paxton's tweet. He also made it clear city officials will not be backing down.

Casar tweeted, "While El Paso rolled out makeshift morgues, you sued them for protecting residents. While Texans froze in the dark, you fled the state for warmer weather. Now, you're going out of your way (again) to win political points, even if it costs lives. We'll see you in court."

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