In a recent turn of events, the Texas GOP finds itself embroiled in controversy, further deepening the internal strife within the traditionally Republican state. The controversy revolves around a recent decision by party leaders who voted against a resolution aiming to distance the GOP from individuals associated with white supremacist views, Nazi sympathies, and Holocaust denial.
The decision, with a narrow margin of 32-29, shocked some members and dealt a blow to those pushing for the party to address its connections to extremist groups, as first reported by The Texas Tribune.
The controversy originated when conservative activist Nick Fuentes, a known admirer of Adolf Hitler, was observed entering the offices of Pale Horse Strategies, a consulting firm connected to far-right candidates and movements. Owned by Jonathan Stickland, a former state representative associated with the political action committee Defend Texas Liberty, the firm has received funding from influential donors supporting right-wing causes.
This vote adds to the disturbing trend within the Republican Party, revealing cracks within the party’s foundation.
A faction within the Texas GOP executive committee had called for the party to sever ties with Defend Texas Liberty until Stickland was removed from power, but the proposed demands were diluted ahead of the recent vote. According to The Texas Tribune, the watered-down resolution sought to bar associations with individuals or groups known for antisemitism, pro-Nazi sympathies, or Holocaust denial.
However, the majority of the executive committee found even this language too vague and subjective. Some argued that such a ban would lead to guilt by association and likened it to “Marxist” and “leftist” tactics.
The fallout from the Fuentes scandal has intensified existing internal conflicts, adding complexity to Defend Texas Liberty’s retribution plans against those who supported the impeachment and acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton. Some party members now question the group’s influence, leading to heightened infighting.
House Speaker Dade Phelan criticized the vote, calling it “despicable” and highlighting the need to confront neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. He had previously clashed with some party members over redirecting funds from Defend Texas Liberty to pro-Israel charities.
“@TexasGOP/SREC (The Texas GOP executive committee) can’t even bring themselves to denounce neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers or cut ties with their top donor who brought them to the dance. There is a moral, anti-Semitic rot festering within the fringes of BOTH parties that must be stopped,” Phelan wrote on X.
The executive committee’s decision is expected to be revisited in its February meeting.
Simultaneously, the Texas GOP is grappling with corruption scandals, exemplified by Paxton’s impeachment and subsequent acquittal. House Republicans, dissatisfied with the outcome, raised concerns about the integrity of the impeachment process, leading to public clashes between key party figures.
The resignation of Rep. Bryan Slaton, amid an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, further compounds the party’s troubles. Slaton’s actions, including providing alcohol to young staffers and attempting to cover up the incident, contribute to a narrative of decay within the GOP, according to Phelan.