The Texas Republican Party made a series of far-right statements as part of its official party platform over the weekend, claiming President Biden was not legitimately elected, issuing a ‘reprimand’ to Senator John Cornyn for his work on bipartisan gun legislation and referring to homosexuality as “an abnormal life choice”.
The platform was voted on in Houston at the state party convention, which ended Saturday.
The resolutions for Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn were approved by a voice vote of delegates, according to James Wesolek, the communications director for the Republican Party of Texas. Statements on homosexuality – along with additional positions on abortion that called on students to “educate themselves about the humanity of the unborn child” – were among more than 270 boards that were approved by a committee of platform and voted by the largest group of convention delegates using paper ballots. The results of those votes were still expected on Sunday, but Mr. Wesolek said it was rare for a board to be rejected by the full convention after being approved by the committee.
The resolutions adopting the false claims that former President Donald J. Trump was the victim of a stolen 2020 election along with the other statements were the latest examples of Republicans in Texas moving further to the right in recent months. Republicans control both houses of the legislature, the governor’s mansion and all state offices, and have used their dominance to pass tough anti-abortion legislation, create supply chain issues by temporarily adding additional state inspections at the border and renaming the Trump-backed state attorney general over a Bush family member in a runoff in May.
Mr. Wesolek disputed the idea that the statements were linked to the State party’s rightward leaning. “It was the will of the body,” Mr. Wesolek said on Sunday. “We are proud to be a people’s party.”
State party conventions in Texas have sometimes been the site of public airing of internal dissent. In 2012, Governor Rick Perry was loudly booed at the state’s Republican convention when he said he supported the powerful lieutenant governor over Ted Cruz in a disputed primary for the Senate. On Friday, Mr. Cornyn – a key negotiator in gun talks with Democrats – was booed by congressmen during a speech in which he tried to assure Republicans that the new legislation would not undermine the rights of gun owners.
The state party resolution embracing the baseless claims of the stolen 2020 election said “substantial voter fraud in major metropolitan areas significantly affected results in five key states in favor of” Mr. Biden. The state party, the resolution continues, has rejected “the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we find that interim President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.” “.
The resolution encouraged Republicans to “show up to vote” in November and “bring your friends and family, volunteer for your local Republicans, and overcome any possible fraud.”
State Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican who represents part of Montgomery County, a suburb of Houston, said he left the convention before voting on the resolutions, but he expressed support for them. this. He said he hoped the Biden resolution would “encourage Republicans and Democrats to come together and demand a forensic audit” of the 2020 election.
Jason Vaughn, 38, a Republican delegate from Houston, claimed credit for adding “show up to vote” language to the Biden resolution. “My fear is that if we keep telling people the election was stolen, they won’t vote,” Vaughn said.
Mary Lowe, a delegate from suburban Fort Worth who focused on education issues at the convention, said she was surprised the 2020 election results caught the attention of fellow Republicans. . But, she added, “I don’t know too many people who felt Biden won.”
Ms Lowe, president of the Tarrant County chapter of a group known as Moms for Liberty, said she was among delegates who openly criticized Mr Cornyn. But she added that she was embarrassed by the boos and did not participate in them.
“I don’t believe booing is polite,” Ms Lowe said. “I think elected officials should be treated with appropriate decorum.”
Jamie Haynes, 47, a Republican delegate who lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband and who says together they own “a lot of guns”, said the boos directed at Mr Cornyn showed he There was a “strong and resounding view that Republicans don’t want their gun rights shaved — not just taken away — but even just shaved off in any form.
The resolution reprimanding Mr Cornyn that was passed at the convention opposed red flag laws, which allow the seizure of firearms from people deemed dangerous. These laws, according to the resolution, “violate the right to due process and constitute pre-crime punishment for those not found guilty.”
The plank on homosexuality passed the platform committee by 17 votes to 14, according to Mr Vaughn, an openly gay member of the committee who voted against.
“It does nothing to move us forward as a party and win voters,” he said in a video of the committee meeting. In an interview, Mr Vaughn said the change at the convention was the result of a small number of people who “make the process miserable because they want to do all this extreme and far right stuff”.
Mr Toth disagreed, saying that when it comes to abortion, gay rights and the 2020 election, the Republican Party has been consistent in sticking to its conservative principles. “Defense of marriage? Abortion? Second Amendment? Where did we go right? He asked. “Republicans have always been strong advocates of constitutional family values.”
A congressman and Democrat from Texas, Representative Colin Allred, called the Republican Party’s actions regressive.
“The Republican Party of Texas is trying to take us back to a time when women couldn’t make decisions about their own bodies and Americans lived in fear of being punished for being themselves,” Allred said. in a press release.