Texas House Speaker’s Viral Video Raises Concerns of Intoxication or Medical Emergency
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has been at the center of controversy after a video clip of him slurring his words went viral on social media over the weekend. While some believe that he was under the influence of alcohol, others speculate that he may have been suffering from a serious medical condition. The 44-second video shows Phelan debating a bill on the floor, while some onlookers claim that nobody intervened to check on him.
Greg Price, the communications director for the State Freedom Caucus Network, wrote on Twitter that the speaker appeared to be either really drunk or suffering from a stroke. Although Phelan has yet to address the allegations, Former GOP State Rep. Jonathan Stickland opined that it was not unusual to see lawmakers intoxicated.
Stickland tweeted that many members are regularly intoxicated, and the Speaker being visibly wasted was unacceptable, stating that lawmakers impact 30 million Texans and such behavior should stop. A social media user sought clarification on whether this behavior constitutes illegal use of taxpayer funds, to which Stickland replied that Phelan, being the wasted Speaker, decides how the rules are enforced.
The controversy has led to calls for Phelan’s resignation, and the Collin County GOP even published a survey asking whether Phelan should continue as Speaker next session. The leaders have been particularly divisive figures among Texas Republicans, with some accusing him of being a “Republican In Name Only,” or RINO even before he assumed the position.
Phelan’s supporters have defended him, noting that the clip shows only a short snippet from a 14-hour day and that he seemed to regain composure shortly after. Jason Vaughn, former policy director for the Texas Young Republicans, warned others against assuming that Phelan was drunk. In contrast, a social media user observed that Phelan’s speech sounded off the entire night – not drunk but something that called for medical attention.
Phelan, on the other hand, has not addressed the controversy head-on but instead took to Twitter to share a picture of his great meeting with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. With a week left until the end of the regular session, Texans await what the weeks ahead hold for Phelan and the Texas House.