ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — During an event Monday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott avoided directly criticizing President Donald Trump even though many blame his false claims about stolen elections and inflammatory language about disloyal politicians for inciting the deadly violence that overtook the U.S. Capitol last week.
A reporter specifically asked Abbott whether Trump should resign following the governor’s lengthy update in Arlington about the state’s effort to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
“He’s in office, what, another week?” Abbott said about Trump. “Listen, all the political machinations in Washington, D.C. about the last few days of his presidency are nothing more than political machinations.”
The question proved particularly topical after House Democrats introduced a resolution Monday morning to call for Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment. Republicans, however, blocked this request.
When they reconvene Wednesday, House Democratic lawmakers are now expected to take up a single charge of impeachment — “incitement of insurrection” — against Trump over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. Passage of the resolution would make Trump the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
Abbott seemed to refer to these efforts during additional comments Monday.
“What Americans want to see out of the United States Congress, they want to see action,” he said. “They want to see the United States Congress stepping up and doing everything they can to provide more vaccines and make them available for people in Texas. We don’t need them to do political infighting. They should be working every minute of every day coming up with strategies that will create more vaccines for Texans and Americans.”
Regarding the violent siege at the Capitol, though, Abbott said the pro-Trump rioters, not the president himself, are to blame for what happened.
“Violence always obviously is unacceptable,” Abbott said, “but the people responsible for that violence are the people who did it. They’re the ones who should be punished for it.”
When asked about Twitter permanently suspending Trump for concerns about inciting more violence, the governor went after social media companies for taking similar actions recently.
“Typically, any company has the right to make whatever decisions they wanted to with regard to who may use their product,” Abbott said. “However, what we have in some social media companies is different, because they have been given a unique grant of civil liability immunity to maintain an open platform. It seems like they are no longer complying with the open platform that allows them to receive the civil liability immunity. They cannot have it both ways.”
He continued, “They cannot cancel conservative speech while still receiving that immunity. They’re going to have to pick or choose which pathway they go down.”
Texas State Capitol security
The governor also responded to a question about whether he has any concerns about security at the Texas State Capitol since the new legislative session begins Tuesday.
“That’s something that the Texas Department of Public Safety always remains on top of,” Abbott said. “They will continue to remain on top of that.”
The riot in D.C. led to the closure that same day of the grounds at the Texas State Capitol, where dozens of Trump supporters gathered outside the gates peacefully. The facilities have since been reopened.