TX House Speaker Accused Of 'Intoxication' After Slurring His Words In Viral Video—But People Aren't So Sure
After Texas AG Ken Paxton urged Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign due to 'debilitating intoxication,' other videos of Phelan call the accusation into question.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton publicly called for the resignation of Texas state GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan, accusing him of presiding over the Texas House while allegedly intoxicated.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Paxton stated:
"...Texans were dismayed to witness his performance presiding over the Texas House in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication..."
"He has proven himself unworthy of Texans' trust and incapable of leading the Texas House."
Paxton—who is the focus of a months long Texas House investigation for corruption—requested the House General Investigating Committee look into Speaker Phelan's conduct, alleging violations of House rules, state law and unbecoming behavior for his position.
You can see AG Paxton's statement below.
\u201cSpeaker Dade Phelan should resign.\u201d— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@Attorney General Ken Paxton) 1684871580
The allegations against Speaker Phelan stem from his appearance during legislative debates on Friday night.
Video clips were disseminated by conservatives on social media.
You can see it below.
\u201c@RonFilipkowski If he's not drunk then I seriously hope he got medical attention, because the other option is he was having a stroke on the floor. Jesus.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1684874693
Editor in Chief of the Texas Tribune Sewell Chan had the tape reviewed and annotated.
\u201cWas TX House Speaker Dade Phelan intoxicated on May 19, as TX AG Ken Paxton and his hard-right allies allege? We reviewed, and annotated, the tape from that day so you can decide for yourself. \n\nhttps://t.co/yvXRHrAUY3\u201d— Sewell Chan (@Sewell Chan) 1684887663
You can see those results here:
Some agreed Paxton was right about Phelan being "intoxicated" on the House floor.
Paxton is embraced by the far-right while Phelan is viewed as too "woke" by the MAGA minions.
\u201c@mvandemar @RonFilipkowski 40 yrs ER nurse here, and he's drunk. There's no weaknesses, he's standing upright, face symmetrical and slurring.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1684874693
\u201c@mvandemar @RonFilipkowski Yeah, under the influence or stroking out.\u201d— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1684874693
\u201c@sewellchan He sounded drunk early, sounded drink af with some pills later. He was f'd up or was having an a stroke (rn for 11 years)\u201d— Sewell Chan (@Sewell Chan) 1684887663
\u201c@sewellchan @PatrickSvitek Could he have mixed medications?\u201d— Sewell Chan (@Sewell Chan) 1684887663
\u201c@mvandemar @RonFilipkowski He's probably on drugs .\u201d— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1684874693
Paxton's statement on social media and his demand for an investigation into Phelan's conduct further escalated tensions between the two political figures.
The controversy arises amidst ongoing investigations into Paxton's for corruption, adding a layer of complexity to the already strained relationship between the Attorney General and the House Speaker.
Paxton's former top lieutenants in the Attorney General's Office filed a whistleblower lawsuit about Paxton's conduct more than two and a half years ago, accusing Paxton of bribery and potential criminal activity. Paxton dismissed them as rogue employees, leading to a legal battle.
In an effort to "save taxpayers money," Paxton stated he agreed to settle the case while denying any wrongdoing on his part.
Phelan's Communications Director, Cait Wittman, responded to Paxton's statement pointing out the House General Investigating Committee had been investigating Paxton's whistleblower case since March.
Wittman suggested Paxton's recent actions were an attempt to deflect attention from the ongoing investigation of his own conduct:
"The motives for and timing behind Paxton's statement today couldn't be more evident. Mr. Paxton's statement today amounts to little more than a last ditch effort to save face."
Others concurred following the release of Paxton's statement.
\u201c@KenPaxtonTX This is so rich. \ud83d\ude02\u201d— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@Attorney General Ken Paxton) 1684871580
\u201c@KenPaxtonTX Now do yourself & your governor\u201d— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@Attorney General Ken Paxton) 1684871580
\u201c@KenPaxtonTX You should step down as well\u201d— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@Attorney General Ken Paxton) 1684871580
\u201c@KenPaxtonTX Great idea! While you're at it, you should also resign. And the rest of the state government too! LPTexas will be happy to fill those positions with people who will actually reduce government and restore ALL rights and freedoms to the people of Texas!\u201d— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@Attorney General Ken Paxton) 1684871580
The escalating feud between Phelan and Paxton comes at a crucial time, as lawmakers approach the end of the regular legislative session.
The passage of important bills and the state budget remain pending. The conflict between these prominent Republican figures could potentially impact the outcome.
Moreover, Paxton also faces an unrelated trial on state fraud charges filed against him eight years ago, to which he has pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence.
In September 2022, a Texas judge issued an order for Paxton to participate in a deposition concerning allegations of securities fraud.
However, during that same month, an incident unfolded when a process server arrived at Paxton's residence with a subpoena in an unrelated case. According to an affidavit from the process server, Paxton swiftly departed his home—leaving in a truck with his wife—seemingly attempting to evade being served.