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Trump is the toxic ex for Republicans. Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton just can’t walk away

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 11/17/2022

Donald Trump is like that toxic ex who refuses to get the message: It was fun while it lasted, but now that you’ve broken up and moved on, he just won’t go away.

The former president announced Tuesday night that he’s running for the 2024 Republican nomination, months before someone in his position normally would do such a thing. No matter, two of the highest-profile Texas Republicans immediately rushed to support him.

Ken Paxton, our ingratiating and criminally indicted attorney general, tweeted Wednesday morning: “Donald J. Trump’s efforts to secure our borders, project strength across the globe, expand economic opportunity, & protect our freedoms put our nation back on track. I am proud to endorse his campaign for President so that he can once again put America First & heal our nation.”

Likewise, Dan Patrick, just elected to a third term as lieutenant governor, posted on Facebook Tuesday night: “President Trump is the candidate the Democrats fear the most in 2024. If you heard his speech tonight, you know why. It was one of the best he has ever given. After two more years of President Biden and the leftist policies of the Democrats, Americans will be ready for America to be Great Again.”

Let’s get a few things straight about Trump. He denied the 2020 election results, supported the Capitol riots and has acted like a 9-year-old boy on social media — whining, bullying, and crying his way through the last two years. When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the obvious GOP frontrunner for 2024 won his re-election campaign by a whopping 20 points, Trump lashed out at the guy he’d already dubbed “Ron DeSanctimonious,” which isn’t even clever or interesting. It’s desperate.

Trump was a transactional president whose leadership was necessary during a pivotal time in the U.S., especially for judicial appointments. That time is now past. In the last two years, his repeated inability to accept reality and his penchant for communicating like a schoolyard bully who hasn’t reached any emotional maturity disqualify him to be president again. Full stop. Surely, Republicans see this.

There is no reason for elected officials like Patrick or Paxton to support Trump. Yes, there’s a huge MAGA fanbase in Texas, but these two men have already won their races. Trump’s support is no longer needed. MAGA is a fire that will die down when it’s snuffed of oxygen. Strategically, backing Trump is unnecessary and unwise. It signals an inability to depart from that which has become toxic, immature and far beyond the pale.

Trump did some important things while president, advancing originalist judges to the judiciary, emphasizing religious liberty and fast-tracking COVID vaccines. But his character and demeanor disqualify him from representing the GOP again. At this point, it’s clear that he’s in this for himself. Patrick, Paxton and other elected officials need to step away from Trump and do so now.

Sticking by his side does not show loyalty but fanaticism. It does not support conservative ideas. It supports a raging lunatic who once did a stint as president.

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