AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is speaking out after catching heat because of a trip he took during the state’s historic cold weather storms.
Paxton’s trip to Utah last week, as millions of Texans lost heat and water, was first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Monday — and Texans and the internet were quick to respond, especially in the wake of Ted Cruz’s flight to Cancun the same week.
The Paxton campaign, however, quickly eschewed theorizing that the AG’s trip had been a vacation, saying Paxton had traveled to meet with his counterpart Sean Reyes and participate in a police training program demonstration.
The Utah AG’s Office also said that Paxton and Reyes met to discuss a multi-state antitrust lawsuit against Google.
In tweets on Tuesday morning, Paxton said, in part: “This past week Texas saw some of the coldest temperatures and many, if not most, went without critical supplies. Angela and I also sat in our dark home with no power for most of 72 hours. We grilled food outside and sat by the fire for warmth as so many Texans did…”
Paxton said that “from the dark of his home” he worked to help Texans — including opening an investigation into ERCOT and other power companies — but that his pre-planned meetings in Utah required his physical presence.
The AG echoed his campaign’s previous comments, explaining that the police demonstration program he assessed would assist law enforcement in de-escalation tactics and treatment for those with mental illnesses.
Paxton also called out media outlets over their coverage of the trip, saying, “While the media does its job to drum up controversies by writing stories to generate clicks and revenue, I will continue to do my job to enforce the law and ensure that law enforcement has all the tools to keep Texans safe. #TexasBlackout.”
Neither Paxton nor his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, offered explanation about her accompanying him on his Utah trip, however.
The Cruz trip during the devastating winter storm has caused an increased focus on Texas lawmakers’ whereabouts during the crisis. Over the weekend, “WheresCornyn?” and “WheresJohnCornyn” both appeared on Twitter’s trending page, with many knocking the senator’s response to the devastating storms and lack of visibility in their wake.
Despite speculation that he may have travelled for leisure, Cornyn’s staff confirmed Monday that he’d become stranded in Washington, D.C. due to storm-related closures and cancelations.