Republicans Cut and Run Before Capitol
Shuttered as Potential Trump Mob Target
January 16, 2021
Texas Republican lawmakers who'd been chasing Antifa shadows for months have wisely decided to flee the Texas Capitol instead of sticking around to defend it from an attack that President Donald Trump supporters have been planning.
The Republicans voted in the nick of time to go on a long winter break before the Department of Public Safety closed the Capitol unexpectedly on Friday night in the face of new intelligence on the looming threat of violence during armed demonstrations in honor of Trump.
The GOP in Texas will have no new Alamo to remember in the wake of the Republican majority hightailing from a statehouse that law enforcement authorities have identified as a potential Trump mob target between now and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week. There will no heroic tales of sacrifice for the party faithful to share about GOP representatives swinging squirrel rifles when they take one for freedom on the south steps.
Despite the unique advantage of a new state party leader who claims to have Davy Crockett as a personal advisor, the statehouse doesn't appear destined to become the next shrine of Texas liberty anytime soon. The voice that Texas GOP Chairman Allen West thought he heard speaking to him on day trips to downtown San Antonio might not have been the king of the wild frontier after all based on the way the Republicans bolted from Austin this week.
While GOP state lawmakers cited the coronavirus as the official cause for the extended leave, the decision to stay away from the Capitol until they think it's safe to return has bought them time that they desperately need to confront the truth about themselves. The Republicans have 10 days or more to acknowledge and to weigh the consequences of their choices after falling for a president who's leaving office in historic disgrace with the country ablaze in his wake.
After trying to put a happy face on the opening days of the regular session, GOP leaders and legislators in the Lone Star State face a decision that will define them and haunt them for the rest of their lives if they make the wrong call. Are they with Trump or against him? Will they be willing to keep living in fear of someone who's been formally accused of high crimes against America - or will they summon the courage to publicly denounce him before Biden is sworn in on Wednesday?
The Republicans could find absolution elusive if they fail to offer apologies for failing to anticipate the destructive of effects of blind loyalty while rallying around a president who backed down from a fight with the coronavirus, tried to overturn a democratic American election and faces formal charges now of inciting a riot that left a Capitol police officer and four others dead in its wake.
GOP leaders and lawmakers - despite the cheery public persona - appeared to be fairly equally divided on the need to come clean on Trump and their blind loyalty to him before and during his incredible unraveling. But the Republicans - after appearing in most cases to be oblivious to the escalating crisis that has America on the brink - might be more likely to revive an apparent quest for a safe middle ground that might not exist when they come back to town.
But Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will be forced in the meantime to reassess their plan to keep the Capitol open to the public during the regular session despite the inherent dangers that had soared in the wake of the deadly assault at the nation's Capitol. The top two Texas leaders had touted the open door policy as a symbolic demonstration of their disdain for lockdowns. After an increase in security at the Capitol for the session's kick off, the state police who answer to Abbott waited two days after FBI warnings on the statehouse as a potential Trump mob target before making the call last night to shut it down for five days at least.