Texas attorney general not opposed to suing Trump administration

Ken Paxton (Nexstar Photo)
Ken Paxton (Nexstar Photo)

AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump got to work inside the Oval Office and exercised some executive powers Monday.

He signed three executive orders, including one that pulls the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump also signed an order that freezes hiring by the federal government, with the exception of the military.

The third executive order reinstated the “Mexico City Policy” on abortion funding, which bans non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving U.S. government funding. “I’m excited about, obviously, Donald Trump being president,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Since President Trump took office Friday, Paxton has heard a lot of jokes about what he plans to do with all his spare time. “We have plenty to do,” Paxton said. The State of Texas filed at least 48 lawsuits against the federal government during Obama’s 8-year presidency, according to the Texas Tribune’s tally.

The AG’s office released cost estimates for 39 of those cases— a total of about $5.9 million, as of mid-2016. “It so significantly affects us what the federal government does, it’s important we’re apart of whatever is going on,” said Paxton.

The attorney general is happy to have a Republican in the White House, but the state’s top lawman said that doesn’t mean Texas will stop suing the federal government or hold off on filing new cases against the Trump Administration.

“It’s about the Constitution, it’s about following the rule and no president is above that authority,” said Paxton. “If any administration, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, oversteps what I think is constitutional, we’re going to try to stop it.” The Democratic Party of Texas is skeptical that GOP officials in the state will be as eager to stand up to President Trump as they were with Obama.

“Since Trump’s been in the political arena, we’ve seen nothing from Texas Republicans challenging Donald Trump,” said Manny Garcia, deputy director of the Democratic Party of Texas. He said Texas Republicans have cowered in front of Trump, “There is nothing to show that they would stand up to Donald Trump on any issue whatsoever,” said Garcia.

Trump could rescind some of Obama’s executive orders that Texas has challenged, but Paxton said many went through federal agencies and those take time to rewind because new rules must be put in place.

Other legislation, like the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, went through Congress, and those items have to be undone by Congress. “Our litigation goes on,” Paxton said.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Texas in the state’s effort to revive its strict voter identification law Monday.

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