Austin (KXAN) — Two years have passed since the deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Since that infamous date, the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the uprising has laid out key information that former President Donald J. Trump sought to overturn the election results with enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider a criminal charge.
Despite this evidence, some prominent Texas legislators have not publicly retracted the 2020 election-related theories that led to the attack. In fact, many of the bills pre-filed for the 2023 legislative session reflect theories surrounding widespread electoral fraud. This is despite the fact that an audit of the elections in the four largest counties in Texas did not reveal massive fraud in the 2020 elections.
Two years later, we reflect on how some senior Texas legislators reacted to the events of January 6 and where they are now.
Senator Ted Cruz
Ahead of January 6, Senator Ted Cruz said he would object to the approval of the 2020 presidential election results and continues to make unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
After the attack, Cruz tweeted: “Yesterday’s terrorist attack was a terrible attack on our democracy. Every terrorist must be held fully accountable.”
A year later, in a Senate committee hearing, Cruz reiterated that the uprising was a “brutal terrorist attack.”
He then retracted his comments, stating that his use of words was “sloppy” and “dumb” after being criticized by Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson. The next day, in an interview with Carlson on Fox News, which Cruise later posted on his twitter, he explained that the thousands of demonstrators on January 6 were not terrorists. Instead, he said, he meant only the people who attacked the officers as terrorists.
Back in October last year, in an appearance on The View, Cruz still didn’t say definitively whether he believes Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
Senator John Cornyn
Ahead of January 6, Senator John Cornyn announced that he would not object to the approval of the 2020 election results. Cornyn said at the time that a vote-rigging allegation alone was not enough to convince him not to certify the election, and that more evidence was needed, the Texas Tribune reported at the time.
Despite the tweets in February 2021, that there should be an investigation into the attacks, he joined Cruz in voting against the commission tasked with investigating the uprising.
Governor Greg Abbott
After the uprising, Gov. Greg Abbott condemned the day’s violence but did not call for Trump to step down in the wake of the attacks.
“Obviously, violence is always unacceptable,” Abbott said at a press conference on January 11, 2021, “but the people responsible for this violence are the people who did it. They should be punished for this.”
A couple of months later, Abbott announced plans for a new bill aimed at curtailing rampant election fraud in the state.
“The thing is, election fraud does happen,” Abbott said at the time.
Attorney General Ken Paxton
Paxton traveled to the US Capitol on January 6 and spoke to a crowd of Trump supporters ahead of the uprising. He has consistently claimed that there was electronic fraud in the presidential election and has propagated the conspiracy theory that vote counting was inconsistent in states that used Dominion voting systems.
“We won’t stop fighting,” he told the crowd the day before some of them broke into the Capitol.
Following the attack, Paxton tweeted: “Today I am very disappointed with the confirmation of the election results, but I do not believe that violence is the answer.”
The next day, Paxton stepped up the claim on Twitter that the insurgents were in fact not Trump supporters but Antifa agents.
In late 2022, the Texas Tribune reported that Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller were promoting 2000 Mules, a film debunked by Dinesh D’Souza that falsely claims that there were widespread voter fraud. presidential elections.