After saying that he liked Paxton and Bush “both very much,” Trump waded into the race last week to officially recommend Texans to reelect Paxton.
During an interview on the Brian Kilmeade Show, Bush said that even after Trump’s endorsement, he will “continue to be a supporter of the president and of America first policies and I’ll continue to fight for that as land commissioner and hopefully as attorney general.”
“But the reality is here that Ken misled the president,” added Bush before listing several controversies surrounding Paxton.
“He’s deceived the people of Texas multiple times, as we’ve seen with this FBI investigation looking into bribery and corruption charges; he’s misled investors as a lawyer that resulted in securities fraud; the charges against him that are still pending in Harris County; and he misled his wife, and that’s at the core of the bribery case,” said Bush.
“No one is surprised that Ken Paxton downplayed his ongoing criminal behavior. The laundry list of his failures to obey the law seemingly has no end. These are not Texas values,” Bush told The Texan.
“This is not leadership, and this is not the Attorney General that Texans thought they were electing. I’m running for Attorney General to bring honesty and integrity to the Attorney General’s office.”
Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud charges since 2015, though the case has lingered in courts without a resolution yet.
More recently, several of his top aides raised allegations of bribery and abuse of office against Paxton, contending that he used his position to the benefit of Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.
Most of those aides were fired or forced to resign and several subsequently filed a whistleblower lawsuit in court against the Office of the Attorney General.
Among its arguments, the lawsuit cites media reports that Paul hired a woman with whom Paxton had “carried on a lengthy extramarital affair” after the attorney general recommended her for a job.
Paxton dismissed the accusations, saying that they were “overblown, based upon assumptions, and to a large degree misrepresent the facts.”
“President Trump is one of the most intelligent individuals I’ve worked with. He also knows better than anyone about sham investigations. Trump’s endorsement of me was clear, he chose me over the liberals and RINOs attacking me,” said Paxton in a statement to The Texan.
“P’s quote reads like another rookie mistake from someone that puts more trust in the leftist media than in President Trump.”
During the interview with Kilmeade, Bush said that the “year-long campaign” will give Texans “a chance to examine both of our records.”
“I think the truth will bear it out and Texans will choose somebody that can promote America first policies in a way without baggage and without criminality affecting my daily practice,” said Bush.
Asked if he wished the president would not get involved in primaries, Bush said that doing so is “certainly within his right.”
“I certainly courted that and I will continue to reach out to his supporters and support his policies wherever I can as land commissioner,” said Bush. “I’m proud of the campaign we’re building. It’s gonna be grassroots and we’re gonna promote America first.”
Update: This article was updated to include statements from Attorney General Paxton and Land Commissioner Bush.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.