NRA stages big gun show in Texas days after school massacre
The National Rifle Association begins its annual convention in Houston on Friday, and leaders of the powerful gun-rights lobbying group are gearing up to “reflect on” -- and deflect any blame for -- the deadly shooting earlier this week of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
No, frozen wind turbines aren't the main culprit for Texas' power outages
“Texas is a gas state,” said Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas at Austin. AdWhile Webber said all of Texas’ energy sources share blame for the power crisis, the natural gas industry is most notably producing significantly less power than normal. We didn’t run out of natural gas, but we ran out of the ability to get natural gas. At least they show us where idiots live.”While wind power skeptics claimed the week's freeze means wind power can't be relied upon, wind turbines — like natural gas plants — can be "winterized," or modified to operate during very low temperatures. Natural gas power plants usually don’t have very much fuel storage on site, experts said.
Texas politicians united in pleading for calm as Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol
“I like many people voted for President Trump in the 2020 election and hoped for a different result,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin. Over the ensuring hour, scenes emerged of Trump supporters storming barricades, breaching the Capitol and even reaching at least one of chambers. The Capitol building has been breached and both chambers are locked down,” wrote U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso. Texas Democrats, meanwhile, were explicit in linking the harrowing scene to Trump’s refusal to accept the election outcome and belligerent rhetoric. “This is what Trump wanted,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.
COVID-19 exhausting Texas ICU beds as hospitalizations soar
A medical staff exits the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) on New Year's Day at the United Memorial Medical Center on January 1, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)AUSTIN, Texas – Coronavirus cases are exhausting the availability of intensive-care unit beds in parts of Texas as hospitalizations with COVID-19 continue to soar to record levels, state health statistics showed on Tuesday. In all, the state estimated 314,465 COVID-19 cases were active. All ICU beds at hospitals in the Abilene and Bryan-College Station areas are full, while only two are available in the Laredo area with three in the Paris-Texarkana area. For seven days in a row, COVID-19 patients have filled in 15% of the Houston region's hospital beds, according to state health statistics.
More Texas Republicans in Congress are acknowledging Joe Biden’s victory, but many holdouts remain
Upon Joe Biden securing 306 electoral votes during Monday's meeting of the Electoral College, The Texas Tribune polled all Texans in Congress with the question: "With a majority of the Electoral College voting for Biden today, do you accept Joe Biden as the president-elect?" Credit: REUTERS/Al DragoA growing number of Texas Republicans are moving toward the reality that in a little over a month, former Vice President Joe Biden will become president of the United States. But a large number of GOP members of the Texas delegation still have not acknowledged Biden's victory. Upon Biden securing 306 electoral votes during Monday's meeting of the Electoral College, The Texas Tribune polled all Texans in Congress with the question: "With a majority of the Electoral College voting for Biden today, do you accept Joe Biden as the president-elect?" Until the Monday ceremonial vote, many Republicans resisted the idea of a Biden victory.
Texas politicians flock to Georgia to aid in fight for U.S. Senate majority
No candidate cleared 50% of the vote in the respective races, and Georgia law requires a runoff in such cases. Earlier this week, Castro, the former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, spent two days in Georgia stumping with both Ossoff and Warnock. Another high-profile Texas Republican, Crenshaw, has already visited the state and plans to return before the end of the month. The state party has been mobilizing volunteers on its Mighty Texas Strike Force to head to Georgia, with the largest deployment expected to happen after Christmas. In a sign of how the political world has gone all in on Georgia, the campaigners from Texas have not gone unnoticed by other out-of-state surrogates.
Watchdog faults VA chief over handling of sex assault report
“The response of Secretary Wilkie and senior VA officials to the veteran’s complaint of sexual assault was troubling,” Missal said in a statement. “The tone set by Secretary Wilkie appears to have influenced aspects of the initial VA police investigation and the conduct of other VA employees,” the report said. On Thursday, Biden said he will nominate Denis McDonough, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, to be VA secretary. VA officials did not examine the information, the report said. A study released by the VA last year found 1 in 4 female veterans using VA health care reported inappropriate comments by male veterans on VA grounds.
Army secretary says wreath-laying event at Arlington back on
WASHINGTON – Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has reversed the COVID-related cancellation of an annual wreath-laying event at Arlington National Cemetery next month, following criticism on social media and pleas to the White House. President Donald Trump said later Tuesday it was he who had reversed “the ridiculous decision” to cancel the event. Each year, volunteers around the country place wreaths on the tombstones and markers of veterans as part of Wreaths Across America. The tradition began in 1992 when a Maine wreath maker donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington. On Monday, Arlington National Cemetery announced that it was “with great regret,” cancelling the Wreaths Across America event scheduled for Dec. 19, due to COVID-19.
Texas Republicans fighting off Democrats in battleground congressional races
Texas Democrats are hoping to flip several congressional seats held by Republicans on Election Day. At least five Republican incumbents whom Democrats targeted cruised to reelection, according to races called by Decision Desk HQ. Similarly, U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, also held off a challenge from Democrat Lulu Seikaly in Collin County's 3rd Congressional District. Three new members-elect in safe Republican seats also won their races, according to Decision Desk HQ. In the 4th Congressional District that covers the northeastern part of the state, State Sen. Pat Fallon will replace John Ratcliffe, who is now director of National Intelligence.
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw calls expanding mail-in voting “playing with fire” despite rareness of voter fraud
Republicans and President Donald Trump have repeatedly tried to sow doubt over the reliability of voting by mail, alleging it allows for widespread fraud. During the interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta, Crenshaw raised concerns about voting practices in Pennsylvania and Nevada, falsely saying that Pennsylvania was sending unsolicited ballots to voters. Crenshaw suggested in the interview that he worried that some ballots might be mailed to the wrong addresses, inviting fraud. Just 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of dead people were identified, the Post reported. “It’s no secret that in the suburbs and especially amongst women, that they’re simply turned off by Donald Trump,” Crenshaw said, later adding, “They have a personal dislike for him.”
Texas Republicans had light presence at national convention amid debate over state’s battleground status
After a Democratic National Convention that raised questions about its limited roles for Texans, the state’s Republicans kept a light footprint at their national gathering this week — and seemed just fine with it. Dan Patrick, who chairs President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in Texas, said the lack of Texas speakers showed Republicans were not worried about the state. While every recent public survey shows a tighter race, Patrick's prediction reflected the confidence that Trump's Texas allies are voicing at least publicly ahead of November, when their challenges stretch far below the top of the ticket. Texas was clearly on Trump's mind as he delivered his first set of remarks at the convention Monday morning. Four years ago, one of the defining storylines of the national GOP convention involved Texas.
Dan Crenshaw will make a prime time appearance at the RNC Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know about the Houston Republican.
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw will take the stage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night as the sole GOP elected official from Texas with a prime time speaking slot. He’ll appear alongside New York Rep. Elise Stefanik before an address by Vice President Mike Pence. Crenshaw and Stefanik, both 36, are the youngest Republicans members of the House. But this November, he is facing a challenge from Houston attorney Sima Ladjevardian in a race that’s drawing attention from national Democrats. Here’s what you need to know about the Houston Republican:
WHAT TO WATCH: Pence, Conway and protest pushback at RNC
Pence, whose future political aspirations could hinge on November, has campaigned aggressively for the president. Pence has helped steer the White House response to the coronavirus, leading a task force and frequently working with the nations governors. The GOP convention has mentioned the virus far less than Democrats did last week, but Pence could throw it back into focus if he speaks about the work hes led. Conway, whose husband has become an outspoken Trump critic, says she is stepping away to spend more time with her family. Clarence Henderson, a civil rights activist from the 1960s, is expected to speak on the true meaning of peaceful protest."
TribCast: Hurricane Laura, coronavirus on campus and the RNC
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 28, 2018. Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune(Audio unavailable. Click here to listen on texastribune.org.) In this week's TribCast, Matthew speaks with Ross, Alex and Patrick about the incoming hurricane, the first week of college classes and the Republican National Convention.