On a sunny Saturday in Austin, the streets surrounding the Governor’s Mansion were filled with the chants of hundreds of Texans from across the state, who gathered together with one simple message for Gov. Greg Abbott: “Free Texas Now!”

The protest, organized by “the still somewhat free citizens of Texas,” drew hundreds of attendees from conservative organizations—such as True Texas Project, the Fredericksburg Tea Party, and others—as well as individuals who caught wind of the event and wanted to make their voices heard.

Though Abbott has received increasing opposition from everyday Texans for his unilateral string of shutdowns and mandates in response to the Chinese coronavirus, speakers at this event included elected officials in his own party—Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, State Sen. Bob Hall (Edgewood), and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West.

Though Miller said he believed Abbott had acted with good intentions, he railed against Abbott’s mandates and sided with the protestors at the event.

“Quite frankly, Governor, your cure is worse than the disease,” Miller said, while facing the front door of the mansion.

West, who has been vocal in his support of grassroots opposition to the shutdowns even after being elected chairman of the Texas GOP in July, told the crowd he had received an email from the chairman of the Brazos County Republican Party earlier in the week, asking him why he would protest the Republican governor right before voting begins in the November election.

“True leaders don’t pick and choose when to do what is right,” replied West. “They do what is right all the time.”

West also read aloud a resolution passed recently by the State Republican Executive Committee urging Abbott to lift all the coronavirus restrictions and open Texas.

“If the governor did not get this resolution, I’m gonna leave it right here, at the gate of the Governor’s Mansion,” West added.

Other speakers included former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, former State Sen. Don Huffines, and True Texas Project CEO Julie McCarty.

“I am here for one reason. I want the rest of the nation to know we do not want a President Abbott,” McCarty said, referring to persistent rumors about Abbott’s future political aspirations.

Abbott, however, was not there to hear the cries of the citizens who travelled to make their voices heard. Instead, Abbott attended the University of Texas–Oklahoma Red River Rivalry football game in Dallas, where he tweeted videos of himself down on the field.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens