AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Some political advocacy groups and conservative activists are accusing Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan of conducting business while intoxicated after he appeared to be impaired on the House dais.
The Speaker’s Office declined to comment on the matter.
An unidentified advocacy group used the incident to generate negative campaign material. They sent a mass text message to several journalists calling for members to remove Speaker Phelan.
“It appears that TX House Speaker Dade Phelan is either really drunk or having a stroke,” the State Freedom Caucus Network’s Greg Price tweeted.
“Watching the Speaker be this wasted is absolutely unacceptable. These Representatives are making laws that impact 30 million Texans. It must stop,” former State Representative Jonathan Stickland said on Twitter.
Speaker Phelan has long attracted criticism from some of the most conservative factions of his party for appointing Democrats to chair committees and prioritizing bills with which they do not agree.
Other Texas Capitol observers defended the speaker while referencing the other video from the House floor in which Phelan sounds more coherent.
The video in question came towards the end of a 14-hour workday in the House. For context, this is a clip from earlier in the day.
“I think it’s exhaustion plus the parliamentarian is talking to him and I can’t imagine that trying to talk while someone else is talking to you is easy… especially after 1 a.m.,” political consultant Derek Ryan wrote in a tweet.