Texas state Rep. Trey Fischer (D) claimed that dozens of Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas Monday needed to fly privately because “everybody wants to see” them together.
Fischer appeared on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday after he and at least 50 other Democratic House lawmakers fled Texas to break quorum and prevent the GOP-controlled House from passing election reforms. The Democratic lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate in support of a Democrat-backed federal overhaul of election law.
On CNN, Fischer defended him and his colleagues’ decision to hire private jets to take them from Texas to Washington. The group of lawmakers was mocked and accused of hypocrisy on social media after photos of the group were made public. The lawmakers were seen without masks on their chartered jet, which would have been forbidden on a commercial flight.
“So, number one, when you break a quorum you want to be successful, so I think everybody wants to see 51, 52, 55 Democrats on the same plane. That’s reassuring,” Fischer said, explaining the decision to charter a jet. “Number two, to get a flight out of town at a time certain – you know, getting everybody to come if from across the state – you need to fly privately. And, as you can see from the picture, we’re talking about the same kind of plane that the public uses every day. There are no fancy couches or anything like that. This was just a regular plane that moved us from one state to another.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott pledged to call as many special sessions of the state legislature as needed to pass his legislative priorities, including election reforms. A special session of the Texas legislature can last up to 30 days under state law.
“We have special sessions that last 30 days, and the governor calls them and I will continue calling special session after special session, because over time it’s going to continue until they step up to vote,” Abbott said on Fox News Monday. He went on to accuse them of misrepresenting the proposed election reforms that purportedly motivated them to flee the state.
“The thesis that they are operating under is completely false, because what the Texas law does, doesn’t hinder anybody’s ability to vote,” he said. “In fact, interestingly, what Texas is seeking to do is to add additional hours to vote. Texas has 12 days of early voting and the hours of which will be expanded. And we will ensure that hours are expanded on Election Day also. So their entire thesis is completely wrong.”
Abbott said the rogue lawmakers will be arrested after they return to Texas.
“What the law is, it’s in the Constitution, and that is the house, the State House of Representatives who were here in the Capitol in Austin right now, they do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested, but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “That’s why they have fled the state. Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business.”