Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing a backlash for traveling to Utah amid the devastating snow storms.
According to the Washington Post, Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton (R) traveled to Utah to meet with Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) “various times” between Wednesday and Friday. The couple faced backlash from Democratic leaders who felt their choice to leave while the state was in crisis was irresponsible.
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Paxton said the trip was previously planned, according to the report.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement condemning Paxton’s actions.
“Indicted Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton joins [Governor] Greg Abbott and [Senator] Ted Cruz in either fleeing their responsibilities for Texans or fleeing the state entirely,” the statement read. “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.”
He continued, “Whether it’s using his public office to abuse power, wasting Texas taxpayer dollars with his frivolous lawsuits, or now, pulling a Ted Cruz and fleeing the state in our greatest time of need, Indicted Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is once again showing that he puts himself above the people he was elected to serve.”
The Washington Post reported Paxton was indicted in July 2015 on on charges of felony securities fraud.
As theGrio reported, Cruz attempted to flee the harsh conditions by traveling to Cancun with friends and family. According to the report, viral images showed the family at the airport and aboard the plane. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, allegedly sent out texts inviting others to join them in Mexico for a vacation to get out of their “FREEZING” house.
“With schools canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz wrote in his statement.
Per the Post, some have criticized Abbott’s response to the deadly snow storm.
“He hasn’t done anything,” Conor Kenny, a Democrat, told the outlet. Kenny is a former planning commission chairman in Austin. “All he has done is call for an investigation into his own administration.”
“Short term, I am absolutely certain that the governor’s popularity will suffer as a result of this,” added Bill Hammond, a Republican lobbyist and former head of the Texas Association of Business to the Post. “He is the head of state government at this time . . . and it’s just like the quarterback, the blame and the credit go to the quarterback.”
According to theGrio, around 70 deaths nationwide are the result of the snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures with most of the fatalities occurring in the Lone Star state. Matt Zavadsky, a spokesman for Fort Worth area ambulance provider MedStar said the majority of distress calls came from people inside of homes.
“You had people who had been so cold for so long that they were shivering uncontrollably, they may have had a decreased level of consciousness, which is not uncommon when you are in hypothermia for a prolonged period of time,” he said, according to the report.
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