After Joe Biden was declared President-elect on Saturday morning by every major news organization in the country, Texas’s political leaders reacted in predictably partisan fashion, with Democrats celebrating a decisive victory while most Texan Republicans either parroted Trump’s baseless fraud accusations or tried to change the subject entirely.
In his Saturday night victory speech, Biden said he would continue his fight “to restore the soul of America” after four divisive years under President Donald Trump. He vowed to “rebuild the backbone of the nation — the middle class,” and “to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”
Biden also thanked local elected officials and vowed to aggressively fight the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, which clearly excited Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. In a series of tweets Saturday night, the Democratic judge expressed her optimism that Biden will provide city mayors and county leaders more coronavirus-fighting assistance from the top than the current administration, an admittedly low bar.
“This pandemic has been fought on the shores of local government, without enough air cover. It will be great for all of us to have the leadership we need in the White House,” Hidalgo tweeted.
She then praised Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “for redefining what an American Vice President looks like,” as the first female running mate on a winning presidential ticket, “And for getting there in a pair of converse instead of pretending it’s sensible to spend all day in high heels,” she quipped.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George — an Indian immigrant who later became a naturalized U.S. citizen — also celebrated Harris’s symbolic ascension to the Vice Presidency as the first Black person and only person of Indian descent to take that office.
“What a historic moment. Especially proud of Senator Kamala Devi Harris becoming the first woman, first African American, and first Indian American to hold the office of Vice President of the United States. It is a proud moment for so many communities,” George tweeted Saturday.
“Personally, telling my two girls that the Vice President-Elect is a woman of color — @KamalaHarris — is a moment I will never forget. A glass ceiling has been shattered,” George wrote later.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner kept his congratulations for his fellow Democrats short and sweet. Turner tweeted out photos of himself with both Biden and Harris over the years, each accompanied by a brief statement. He first congratulated Biden “on becoming the 46th President of the United States,” and then Harris “on making history in your own right.”
“Onward to brighter days for our nation,” Turner concluded.
Over on the Red Team, prominent Texan Republicans didn’t have much to say in the way of congratulations for Biden and Harris, seemingly taking cues from Trump’s defiant refusal to concede over the weekend.
“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” Trump said in a statement so divorced from reality that it would be journalistic malpractice to quote it at length.
Trump willfully reasserted that his campaign “will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” referencing multiple cases pending that legal experts affiliated with both parties have called baseless attempts to delay the inevitable.
Texas' highest ranking Republican, Gov. Greg Abbott, hasn't said a word about Biden's victory as of Sunday night. Recently re-elected Sen. John Cornyn hasn’t acknowledged Biden’s victory either, but didn’t weigh in on the president’s various legal challenges to vote counting efforts in certain states. He instead used his social media platform over the weekend to try and raise money for the two U.S. Senate runoff races in Georgia set for January that could determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.
“A Democratic majority in the Senate would cinch the radical agenda of the left. They must be stopped on January 5th in Georgia,” Cornyn tweeted Saturday.
Cornyn’s fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz went a few steps further than his colleague, as Cruz voiced his support for Trump’s dubious accusations of voter fraud in a weekend Fox News appearance while accusing the press of once again acting in a coordinated conspiracy to kneecap our now lame duck president.
“We should allow the legal process to move forward...the big newsrooms in New York City want Donald Trump to lose. They don’t get to decide that, that’s a question for the voters,” Cruz said, despite the fact that he quickly and vocally celebrated Trump’s victory back in 2016 once the country’s major media outlets declared that he’d beaten Hillary Clinton.
Fresh off his successful campaign to stay in Congress, Houston Republican U.S. Rep Dan Crenshaw tried to split the difference of supporting Trump’s legal challenges while signaling to his supporters that news of a Trump defeat didn’t in and of itself mean there was Democratic subterfuge underfoot.
“If Trump loses, he loses. It was never an impossible outcome and we must accept the final results when it is over,” Crenshaw tweeted on Friday before the race had been called for Biden, but then said “It should not be partisan to suggest calmly that investigations occur and the court process plays out.”
Once Biden had been declared victorious on Saturday, Crenshaw tweeted a letter he’d signed demanding that U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr look into Trump’s voter fraud claims fully, writing that he wants “every last legal vote to be counted, the court process to play out, [and] every irregularity to be investigated.”
“Once over — win or lose — we must accept the outcome of this election,” Crenshaw wrote.
The leadership brass of both political parties in Texas also chimed in about Biden’s projected victory on Saturday, the Dems with a by-the-numbers statement celebrating a righteous progressive victory for the forces of social justice and the state GOP with a fact-defying screed against perceived Democratic socialism that allegedly threatens the Texan way of life.
“Texas Democrats are ecstatic Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been declared the clear winners of the 2020 presidential election. With this victory, we have proven that the arc of justice leans towards good and we are on the path to restoring the soul of the nation,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa and party Vice Chair Dr. Carla Brailey in a joint statement.
But Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West embraced Trump’s baseless claims that alleged Democratic chicanery cost the president his reelection, still seeming to acknowledge a Biden presidency was inevitable. In an attempt to connect the dots for red-blooded conservatives who always appreciate a good sports metaphor, he compared the Biden-Harris ticket to Barry Bonds, a notorious pro-baseball steroid abuser, and the NFL’s Tom Brady, who was accused of tampering with footballs in a playoff game with his former team the New England Patriots in the “Deflategate” scandal.
“Biden and Harris will be similar to Barry Bonds and have a permanent asterisk by their names, West wrote. “Americans don’t like cheaters, and the perception of such lends itself to reality, just ask Tom Brady about Deflate=Gate [sic].”
“Regardless,” West continued, “a Harris-Biden presidential administration serves to make my position easy. As well, Kamala and Joe will solidify the fact that Texas will only grow redder and stronger as America’s leading conservative state. If the progressive socialist left believes for one minute that Texas will acquiesce to their collectivism and tyranny, they are delusional.”
One right-wing Texan who isn’t buying what West and his allies are selling is former President George W. Bush. Contrary to the overwhelming majority of his GOP friends in the Lone Star State, Bush congratulated Biden over the phone for a fair, honest victory on Sunday, and threw cold water on Republican claims of Democratic fraud while acknowledging that it was Trump’s right to see if his claims will hold up in court.
“The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear,” wrote Bush in a statement. “The challenges that face our country will demand the best of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris — and the best of us all.
“We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future,” Dubya continued.
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