Story at a glance
- Texas Republicans across multiple state counties have voted to censure Gov. Greg Abbott over his coronavirus response.
- Officials say Abbott has gone too far and acted in “disregard to the Texas Constitution.”
Texas Republicans from eight different counties have voted to censure Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his order that requires all Texans to wear face masks while in public and take other precautions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Henderson County Republican Party Executive Committee called an emergency meeting over the weekend to censure Abbott, or formally express strong disapproval, The Houston Chronicle reports. In this county, committee members rebuked Abbott for not calling the Texas State Legislature into a special session to manage the COVID-19 outbreak, which has surged in recent weeks.
The Chronicle also notes that since July 4, seven other Republican Party Executives Committees in Texas have approved censures against Abbott. In Montgomery County, committee members voted unanimously on the censure, stating that Abbott acted in “disregard to the Texas Constitution” when he required face coverings for residents in counties with at least 20 confirmed coronavirus cases, and ordered closure of bars and limited gatherings.
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In a similar move, the Ector County Republicans in the Southwestern part of the state issued a censure against Abbott, reportedly writing, “The Ector County Republican Executive Board decided it would be a fitting day for us to send a clear message to Governor Abbott.”
Included in the post, the group concluded with “a message that we will no longer sit quietly while he over reaches his authority again, again, and again.”
“So I knew when I issued this executive order that there would be some people in various parts of the state of Texas who may not be pleased about it,” Abbott told Fox 26 in Houston, according to The Chronicle. “Candidly, it is inconsistent with what I would want to do.”
Texas is one of many states adding new protective measures — or in some cases rolling back reopenings — as coronavirus cases surge nationwide. Wearing face coverings in public, a recommended public health practice to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, has been rendered a partisan signal, with Democrats largely opting to wear them while Republicans resist the orders.
New data shows that this divide may be fading; an Axios poll reports that the population of Republicans opting to wear masks has increased in month-over-month figures.
Notable Republican leaders, including Abbott and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, have also voiced support to wear masks in public as their states struggle to contain the virus spread.
“We’re not done with this. We all have to take this seriously,” Scott said on Fox News. “We’ve got to continue to talk about the importance of wearing masks and continue to talk about the importance of social distancing.”
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