The Republican Party in Texas made a series of right-wing extremist statements as part of its official party platform over the weekend, claiming that President Biden was not legally elected, and issued a “reprimand” to Senator John Cornyn for his work on two-party gun laws and mentions homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.”
The platform was voted on in Houston at the state party convention, which ended Saturday.
The resolutions on Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn was approved by the delegates’ ballot, according to James Wesolek, the communications director of the Republican Party in Texas. The statements on homosexuality – as well as further attitudes towards abortion that encouraged students to “learn about the pre-child’s humanity” – were among more than 270 planks approved by a platform committee and voted on by the larger group of convention delegates using of paper ballot papers. The results of these polls were still pending on Sunday, but Mr. Wesolek said it was rare for a plank to be voted down by the entire convention after being approved by the committee.
The resolutions that adopted the false claims that former President Donald J. Trump was the victim of a stolen election in 2020, as well as the other statements, were recent examples of Texas Republicans moving further to the right in recent months. Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature, the governor’s mansion and all nationwide offices and have used their dominance to push hard anti-abortion laws, create supply chain problems by temporarily adding additional state inspections at the border and nominate the Trump-backed state attorney general over a member of The Bush family in a primary runoff in May.
Mr. Wesolek challenged the idea that the statements were tied to the state’s right-wing slant. “It was the will of the body,” Mr Wesolek said on Sunday. “We’re proud to be a grassroots party.”
State party conventions in Texas have at times been a meeting place for publicly airing internal strife. In 2012, Gov. Rick Perry was hailed loudly at the Republican State Convention when he said he supported the powerful lieutenant governor over Ted Cruz in a controversial Senate primary election. On Friday, Mr. Cornyn – a key negotiator in the arms negotiations with the Democrats – exclaimed by convention guests during a speech in which he tried to assure Republicans that the new legislation would not violate the rights of gun owners.
The Land Party’s resolution, embracing the baseless allegations of stolen elections in 2020, stated that “significant electoral fraud in key metropolitan areas significantly affected the results in five key states in favor of” Mr. Biden. The State Party, the resolution continued, rejected “the confirmed results of the 2020 presidential election, and we believe that Acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legally elected by the people of the United States.”
The resolution called on Republicans to “show up to vote” in November and to “bring your friends and family along, volunteer for your local Republicans, and overwhelm any scams.”
State Representative Steve Toth, a Republican representing part of Montgomery County, a Houston suburb, said he left the convention before voting on the resolutions, but expressed support for them. He said he hoped the Biden resolution would “encourage Republicans and Democrats to come together and call for a forensic review” of the 2020 election.
Jason Vaughn, 38, a Republican delegate from Houston, claimed the honor of adding the language “turn up to vote” in the Biden resolution. “My fear is that if we keep telling people that the election was stolen, then they will not go and vote,” said Mr. Vaughn.
Mary Lowe, a delegate from the Fort Worth suburbs who was focused on education issues at the convention, said she was surprised the 2020 election result was in focus for her Republican colleagues. But, she added, “I do not know too many people who felt that Biden won.”
Ms. Lowe, chair of the Tarrant County branch of a group known as Moms for Liberty, said she was among the delegates who openly criticized Mr. Cornyn. But she added that she was embarrassed about it buh and did not participate in it.
“I do not think that that buh is polite,” said Ms. Lowe. “I feel that elected officials should be treated with due diligence.”
Jamie Haynes, 47, a Republican delegate who lives in the Texas Panhandle with her husband and who says they own “a lot of guns together,” said Buos, directed at Mr. Cornyn showed that there was a “resounding strong opinion that Republicans do not want their gun rights shaved – not just removed – but even just shaved in any form.”
The resolution reprimanding Mr. Cornyn, adopted at the convention, opposed red flag laws that allow weapons to be seized from persons deemed dangerous. These laws, according to the resolution, “violate one’s right to a fair trial and are a punishment before the crime of people not convicted.”
The homosexuality plank passed the platform committee with a vote of 17 to 14, according to Mr. Vaughn, an openly gay member of the committee who voted against it.
“It does nothing to move us forward as a party and get voters,” he said in a video from the committee meeting. In an interview, Mr Vaughn said the shift at the convention was the result of a small number of people “making the process miserable because they want to do all this extreme right-wing extremist stuff.”
Mr. Toth disagreed, saying that in terms of abortion, gay rights and the 2020 election, the Republican Party has been consistent in sticking to its conservative principles. “Defense for marriage? Abortion? Second amendment? Where have we moved to the right?” he asked. “Republicans have always been strong defenders of constitutional family values.”
A Texas congressman and Democrat, Representative Colin Allred, called the Republican Party’s actions regressive.
“The Republican Party of Texas is trying to take us back to a time when women could not make decisions about their own bodies and where Americans lived in fear that they would be punished for being themselves,” Mr. Allred in a statement.