Former Texas mayor hails Ken Paxton’s impeachment as a 'substantial bipartisan act of government'

Former Texas mayor hails Ken Paxton’s impeachment as a 'substantial bipartisan act of government'
Ken Paxton in 2013 (Creative Commons)

A major bombshell in Lone Star politics came on Saturday, May 27, when the Texas House of Representatives voted to bring 20 articles of impeachment against far-right State Attorney General Ken Paxton. The vote was 121-23, and that 121 — a combination of Republicans and Democrats — have accused him of corruption, bribery and obstruction of justice.

Paxton's impeachment has set off a civil war within the Republican Party, which has a majority in both houses of the Texas State Legislature. Former President Donald Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are among the far-right Republicans who have rushed to Paxton's defense, while conservative Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan believes that Paxton has become a major liability for the GOP. Paxton's MAGA apologists have been attacking Phelan as a RINO: Republican In Name Only.

In an op-ed published by the Daily Beast on June 1, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, a Democrat, hails Paxton's impeachment as a "substantial and meaningful bipartisan act of government." Jaworski sought the Democratic nomination for Texas' 2022 attorney general race, but Rochelle Garza won that that primary before losing to Paxton by 12 percent in the general election.

READ MORE: Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial could 'seriously wound' Texas Republicans

"Last November, (Paxton) seemed bulletproof in victory," Jaworski observes. "Now, he's likely working from home, crafting his defense for a consequential summer impeachment trial in the Texas Senate. There, he will be convicted and permanently removed from office — and possibly banished from ever holding office in the future — or acquitted and restored to lead the Office of Attorney General, assuredly more powerful than ever and ready to punish those who crossed him."

Jaworski applauds the Texas Republicans who voted to impeach Paxton and stresses that his Texas Senate trial in August will have strong "national implications."

"America's toxic political environment burns, while partisans rejoice in their opponents' defeat," the former Galveston mayor observes, "but Paxton's remarkable fall should instead elicit somber reflection on the state of our politics…. Paxton's verdict this summer — the Senate trial will commence in late August — will determine whether Texas' state government is, in this instance, defined by bipartisan cooperation or partisan nuclear war. There are national implications, too, as Paxton and Donald Trump are collaborators."

Jaworski continues, "As an example, Trump explicitly and Paxton reportedly threatened retaliation against certain Texas House members during the impeachment hearing Saturday. The political consensus is that Paxton will do anything to survive this trial. No defense is too extreme; every imaginable play is on the table."

READ MORE: Ken Paxton impeachment fight exposes deep fissures among Texas GOP

Joe Jaworski's full op-ed for The Daily Beast is available at this link (subscription required).

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