After Texas Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) came under fire for his trip to Cancun amid his state’s battle with a severe winter storm, attention is now turning towards Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (TX-R).
Paxton reportedly travelled to Utah to meet with his counterpart Sean Reyes (UT-R) last Wednesday for a “previously planned meeting.” The campaign spokesman reportedly claimed that Paxton did not leave Texas “until after power had returned” to most households. However, the Attorney General left the state as over 2.8 million Texas households were cut off from electricity amid sub-freezing temperatures, and 12 million people suffered disruptions to their water service. Texans have taken to Twitter to criticize his absence as reports of price gouging on disaster essentials like bottled water and hotel rooms came flooding in.
“Hey Paxton,” tweeted Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (TX-D), “Texans are getting $15,000 electric bills—you are the state’s consumer cop and you abandoned ship when Texans needed your support?”
Cruz has since returned to Texas after describing his decision to visit Cancun “obviously a mistake.” Paxton is yet to make a statement regarding the trip as questions are raised over its funding. The Texas Attorney General is currently under FBI investigation for bribery allegations, and has also been under indictment for the past five years after accusations of fraud.
Fellow Texas Republican Gary Gates joined his colleagues in leaving the state amid the crisis. After his home lost power on Wednesday, Rep. Gates reportedly flew to Orlando on a private jet.
Both Cruz and Paxton are expected to leave for Orlando Florida this week to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2021, along with Rep. Chip Roy (TX-R).
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa attacked the lawmakers in a statement issued Monday.
“Indicted Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton joins Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz in either fleeing their responsibilities for Texans or fleeing the state entirely,” he wrote. “This is a pattern. Texas Republicans do not give a damn about the people they were elected to represent, and they continue to focus on issues that don’t affect the lives of everyday Texans to gaslight them into thinking they are doing their jobs.”