Donald Trump has slammed Texas Governor Greg Abbott for his silence on the historic impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The state House of Representatives impeached Paxton on 20 counts on Saturday that included bribery and breach of public trust.
The vote immediately suspended Paxton from office, pending the outcome of a trial in the Republican-controlled state Senate, and empowered Abbott to appoint a replacement to serve in the interim. It is not yet known when a trial could take place.
Abbott, who served as the state’s attorney general before Paxton took office in 2015, has been silent on Paxton all week, including after Saturday’s impeachment.
Former President Donald Trump is seen arriving at Trump Tower on May 27, 2023 in New York City. Trump has criticized Gregg Abbott for his silence on Paxton’s impeachment. James Devaney/GC Images
Abbott’s silence prompted Trump to write on his social media platform: “MISSING IN ACTION! Where is the Governor of Texas on his Attorney General’s impeachment?”
In an earlier Truth Social article, the former president wrote that he would “fight” House Republicans if they proceed with the impeachment.
He particularly lambasted Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, whom he called “barely a Republican.”
Trump, who is the current front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, also called the impeachment proceedings “election interference.”
Paxton is a Trump ally and has asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election results that were unfavorable to Trump.
He called his removal “unlawful, unethical and deeply unjust”.
“The horrific spectacle at Texas House today confirmed that the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be right or just,” Paxton said in a statement. “It was a politically motivated sham from the start.”
He added that he “looks forward to a quick resolution” in the state Senate, where his conservative allies include his wife, State Senator Angela Paxton.
Paxton, who was elected to a third term as Texas attorney general in November, has been under an FBI investigation for years over allegations that he misused his office to help Nate Paul, a real estate investor who donated to his campaign. He was indicted separately on securities fraud charges in 2015, for which he has yet to stand trial.
Other Republicans, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, also came to Paxton’s defense.
On Twitter, Cruz called the impeachment process a “travesty,” while Greene called it a “witch hunt.”
Cruz said Paxton’s legal issues should be left to the courts.
“Virtually all of the information in the articles was public BEFORE Election Day, and voters chose to re-elect Ken Paxton by a wide margin,” Cruz wrote. “In my opinion, the Texas Legislature should respect the choice of Texas voters.”
Kari Lake, a Republican who lost last year’s race for Arizona governor and is a staunch Trump ally, also defended Paxton. “I stand with him against this unconstitutional one-party impeachment effort,” she wrote in a recent tweet.
Newsweek reached out to Abbott’s office and a Trump spokesperson for comment via email.
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