Since Governor Greg Abbott simply cannot travel to Cleveland right now because of the second- and third-degree burns he got on his legs while on vacation with his family last week, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick will be heading to the Republican National Convention in Abbott's place.
“I’m excited about the convention and looking forward to hearing from our nominee, Donald Trump. I believe it’s going to be a terrific year for Republican candidates from the top of the ballot to the bottom, all across America,” Patrick stated in the release issued on Friday.
So yeah, Patrick is stuck once again being the guy who has to actually be exposed to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump — Abbott also sent Patrick as his substitute when Trump swung through Houston last month for a fundraiser and a rally. Meanwhile, Abbott gets to stay home "sick." His doctor told the Associated Press that it would just be "irresponsible" to allow Abbott to travel right now.
Patrick will be leading the Texas delegation in Abbott's absence. This works out well for Abbott no matter how the GOP convention plays out. If the rumors pan out and Trump doesn't secure the Republican presidential nod on the first ballot, there could be a very public open convention situation. From there, whether Trump manages to secure the nomination or it goes to someone else, Abbott gets plausible deniability of any responsibility for what goes on next week since he, you know, won't be there.
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Abbott isn't the only Republican figure who has opted to "take a powder" versus showing up in Ohio and risking actual real-life Trump exposure. Former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are skipping the shindig along with past Republican nominees Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, according to CBS.
Party leaders are also keeping any potentially vulnerable Senate candidates clear of Trump, CBS noted. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski are all taking a pass. Meanwhile, Ohio Governor John Kasich has to be there since it's in his state, but he's not making a speech.
It's still unclear how Abbott sustained those burns on his legs — the cause is scalding water, but there are no details on how he got scalded — but the injury and subsequent "minor infection" have resulted in the most convenient excuse ever for missing all the Trump-nominating fun in Cleveland. Patrick will be hanging out in that very special spot in Ohio from Sunday to the following Friday.
And really, sending Patrick makes all the sense in the world. It's not as if he's likely to make any major mistakes or misspeak or anything. Let's hope he decides to live-tweet all week.