A month ago, Karl Rove, a former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to President George W. Bush, was predicting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's time in office was nearing an end, pointing out that more than 70% of his own party's representatives had voted to impeach him, including all five GOP members from his home district.
But Saturday, the Texas Senate acquitted Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment, allowing him to stay in the office he has held since 2014, and his attorney, Tony Buzbee, declared in his closing arguments that the "Bush era in Texas ends today."
Rove outlined the case in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal last month, pointing out that "when he won his third term as attorney general last fall, Mr. Paxton said, 'The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.' Maybe, but they might have been simply premature."
But Rove, who gained fame working in the Bush White House, did not mention the go-arounds the Bush family has had with Paxton, a fellow Texan, over the years, or the blame Paxton's attorneys had put on the family after a bitter primary battle last year for the attorney general's seat.
It was just a year ago that Paxton faced a strong challenge for his office from former Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, and the nephew of former President Bush, Rove's one-time boss.
Bush, in his primary campaign against Paxton, called attention to the legal investigations that had been mounted against the attorney general rather than focusing on his accomplishments, Paxton told Newsmax at the time.
Bush was seen widely as the latest potential candidate from a once-powerful family, but most voters had tied him to his family's pro-business politics, an approach not considered conservative enough for Texas Republicans, reports The Texas Tribune.
Paxton's supporters rallied around the call to "end the Bush dynasty," and slammed Bush for what they called shifting policies during the hard-fought campaign.
In his closing arguments in Paxton's impeachment trial this week, Buzbee slammed the political influence of the Bush family and said the case removes the power the family had, reports The Dallas Express.
"You heard in the media that the evidence was 10 times worse than the public even knows," Buzbee told senators. "What a farce that was. What we've seen is a bunch of suppositions, mights, maybes, and could-have-beens. So what is this case about? It's about nothing."
Buzbee also claimed that the trial "displayed for the country a partisan fight within the Republican Party" because Paxton "beat the latest in line for the Bushes" in the 2022 race for attorney general.
Throughout the trial, the defense suggested that the "Bush regime" had leveraged power against Paxton to weaponize whistleblowers.
Paxton's attorneys also claimed that George P. Bush renewed his law license one day after whistleblowers told the FBI in late 2020 that Paxton had committed criminal actions, and a few months later announced his primary challenge against the incumbent attorney general.
"Let it be known, let it be clear now, the Bush era in Texas ends today!" Buzbee said. "We thought it had ended in the primary when Ken Paxton beat George P. Bush 68 to 32. ... They can go back to Maine. This is Texas."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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