After only one week on the job as chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Allen West is already making waves against the political establishment, sounding off against Gov. Greg Abbott’s string of executive orders in response to the Chinese coronavirus, and criticizing moves by some Republican lawmakers to bow to Democrats’ “cancel culture” in removing historical monuments of Confederate soldiers.
West took the helm of the Texas GOP last week after defeating incumbent chairman James Dickey during the party’s biennial convention.
Since then, West has launched an aggressive media tour, staking out positions on the side of grassroots conservatives, even against some politicians in his own party.
The first major example came after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove statues of individuals who fought for the Confederacy from the U.S. Capitol. While the push was led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat congressmen, they found unlikely allies in a minority of Republican legislators, including six from Texas: Michael Burgess of Flower Mound, Van Taylor of Plano, Dan Crenshaw of Houston, Michael McCaul of Austin, Will Hurd of San Antonio, and Pete Olson of Sugar Land.
That vote with Democrats came just days after Texas Republicans voted to make the protection of historical monuments a legislative priority for the party.
Enter Chairman Allen West.
In an interview with Fox and Friends last Friday, West was asked about a similar bill in the U.S. Senate which would rename military bases originally named after Confederate soldiers.
West used the opportunity to take aim at “cancel culture” over statues and monuments.
“I will tell you, I have never met a Confederate general that offended me,” said West, who then pointed towards his service at two military bases—Fort Bragg and Fort Hood—which were both named after Confederate soldiers.
“We are just responding to this mob, this cancel culture, and as long as we continue to believe we can acquiesce, appease, and compromise with them, it just emboldens them. And so, I would say, ‘Sit in the corner, shut up, and get out of the business of worrying about the names of military installations.’”
Later in the week, West even broadcast a Facebook Live video in an IHOP restaurant in McAllen, where he joked that perhaps grits should be removed from menus across the nation due to their place in the diets of Confederate soldiers.
But it’s not just on monument protection and cancel culture that West has been outspoken.
In an interview on Lone Star Politics on Sunday, West took aim at Gov. Greg Abbott’s long string of executive orders in response to the Chinese coronavirus, which have shuttered businesses and threatened individual liberty.
“One of the things that I believe in is the rule of law and that we are supposed to be governed by our elected officials and not ruled by our elected officials,” said West. “I’m not too much a fan of executive orders, edicts, mandates, and directives.”
Though West conceded the executive powers have some role in immediate emergencies, he said, “You have to come back to the Legislature if you want to continue to send out orders.”
West also voiced his disapproval with Abbott’s statewide mask mandate and called some of the restrictions levied by government officials “draconian.”
In the weeks ahead, West is scheduled to travel the state, meeting with local Republican groups and continuing to speak on behalf of the party’s grassroots.