Phelan Staffer Sparks Verbal Sparring
with Revived DTL and Rinaldi Attacks

Capitol Inside
November 14, 2023

A high-ranking official for GOP Speaker Dade Phelan exchanged accusations and insults with state GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi and other conservatives on Monday in connection with the Defend Texas Liberty PAC and a furor that had fizzled in recent weeks before a jump-start this week.

Phelan communications director Cait Wittman seized on a Houston Chronicle article in which some Republicans accused Rinaldi of "weaponizing" the state party for attacks on political enemies inside the GOP. The story rehashed claims that Rinaldi had been at the same location in Fort Worth early last month when white supremacist Nick Fuentes met for several hours with former House member Jonathan Stickland and other operatives for DTL.

"For those keeping track, it’s been over 5 weeks since @RepStickland/ @DefendTXLiberty took an all-day meeting with infamous Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes, with @TexasGOP Chair @MattRinaldiTX in the same office that day," Wittman said in a post on X. "We still don’t know what they were strategizing about for 6 hours or why, and Rinaldi has yet to address his relationship with Stickland and the Party’s ties to @DefendTXLiberty under his leadership."

Rinaldi repost the Wittman tweet and fired back with one of his own - arguing that the speaker was trying to keep the Texas GOP from spotlighting his support from Democrats and attempts to undermine fellow Republicans.

"Dade Phelan would prefer an impotent @TexasGOP that remains silent while he appoints Democrats to leadership & impeaches Republicans," Rinaldi said on X. "But it ain’t gonna happen under my watch."

Republican State Rep. Brian Harrison of Midlothian questioned the legality of a state employee like the Phelan spokesperson devoting time to politics while at work.

"Bad enough Speaker Phelan uses his position to empower Democrats and pass their priorities, but he’s now forcing TAXPAYERS to pay his staffer almost $200k/year… to attack the Republican Party, promote radical Democrats, & smear conservative lawmakers," Harrison contended in an X post. "Is this legal?"

more to come ...









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