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A Look At Texas’ Outsized Role In The U.S. Capitol Attack

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas walks with other elected officials through the House Chamber in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, front, followed by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., walk from the House Chamber following a Senate procession carrying boxes holding Electoral College votes to the House Chamber for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College votes on Wednesday in Washington.

Prominent Texans were involved in events leading up to Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, an ally of the president, spoke earlier in the day at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. He was cheered for his effort last month to try to overturn presidential election results in battleground states that President Trump lost.

“Because we’re here today, the message goes on,” Paxton said. “We will not quit fighting.”

Then, as Congress held a ceremonial electoral vote-counting, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas fed the false narrative that there’s a factual dispute over who won the election. He objected to counting votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

“And let me be clear this objection is for the state of Arizona but it is broader than that,” Cruz said.

Cruz is widely thought to be running again for president in 2024 and trying to appeal to Trump’s supporters.

After pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol, Cruz tweeted that violence is always unacceptable. Yet he continued to fight critics who accused him of stoking the mob.

Liberal groups called on both Paxton and Cruz to resign for fueling the violence.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stands at a podium in Washington, D.C.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally."

U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, an Arlington Republican, had also planned to object to the electoral vote ceremony. Later Wednesday afternoon, he condemned the day’s violence in “the strongest terms possible.”

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat, said the lawmakers who went along with President Trump did it to curry favor with his voters.

“I would say to Cruz and to anyone that when you see something that is wrong and goes against what our country is all about and you see someone going against what our Constitution is all about … say ‘no!’” Veasey said.

Another Texan, former President George W. Bush, condemned what he called a “violent assault on the Capitol” that he said was “undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election,” Bush wrote.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.