Republicans in Travis County, Texas are blasting the dozens of Democrats who fled their state earlier this week and flew to Washington, D.C. to avoid voting on an election integrity bill.
"Texas House Democrats engaged in performance theater for weeks claiming Gov. Abbott was putting lives at risk by reopening the state economy and waiving the statewide mask mandate," Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak told Fox News. "Then they flew to DC on a private jet stocked with Miller Lite without masks, in violation of FAA rules, and now this farce turned into a super spreader event."
Mackowiak was referring to news Saturday morning that three of the Democrats who fled the state capital in Austin have tested positive for the coronavirus and must now isolate themselves for ten days, further delaying their return to the Lone Star state.
The fleeing lawmakers have been widely panned on social media for posing mask-less in a photo on a private jet heading to Washington and many pointed out that several of those Democrats have been critical of relaxing mask mandates. Several of the lawmakers who made the trip were critical of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for lifting coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate.
Some, including Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain, have even suggested that the Democrats are using the coronavirus as a political ploy.
"I say prove it," Cain told Fox News on Saturday. "I think it’s an excuse to avoid coming back. They want a reason to do a 14-day quarantine; they don’t want to come back and do their jobs. If they really have it, prove it."
Cain, and many other Republicans, have accused the fleeing Democratic lawmakers of hypocrisy and criticized them for ignoring their job responsibilities at home by fleeing the state.
"While these Democrats are jetting around, drinking beer, and contracting COVID, we’ve been busy connecting thousands of North Texans with jobs for their futures," Rep. Beth Van Duyne, a Republican congresswoman from Texas, told Fox News.
While in Washington, the Texas Democrats have been meeting with members of their party on Capitol Hill and telling the media that the controversial bill would suppress voting rights.
Republicans in the state disagree, including Cain who argued that the opposite is true.
"Anyone that reads it realizes it doesn’t criminalize mistakes, it expands voting access, it expands hours, and protects our elections," Cain said. "That’s it."
The Texas Democrats have not hinted at when they will return to Texas to allow a quorum vote on the bill to take place. Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, announced earlier this week he is chartering a plane
for his liberal colleagues and encouraged them all to "secure a seat" as soon as possible.