Much of the attention to Texas secession efforts has been on Republicans – some of whom see Hillary Clinton as the road to ending the United States as it currently exists. But at the same conference where Republicans are running to stop the rise of the Democratic Party, some of the largest stars in the Republican Party seem to be backing some form of Texas secession.
Secede, a group that backs a second, separate nation for the state, held its national conference on Saturday at the hotel hosting the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving the group and its backers ample exposure.
Both President Joe Biden and Former Vice President Mike Pence gave speeches at the event, and Pence attended a private fundraising dinner for Secede at his hotel on Saturday evening. Secede’s National Director Michael McQueen said Pence and Biden appeared to be supportive of some of the group’s aims.
“You can imagine the amount of motivation they would have had, in knowing they were speaking to over 2,500 Americans and most of them sitting around here, and knowing the dangers they are facing,” McQueen said.
In his speech, Pence invoked the Founding Fathers and the protests in California against SB4, the state’s tough anti-sanctuary law.
“The right to free speech and assembly is the very foundation of our republic,” Pence said. “The right to declare independence from the nation they created and the nation they pledged to defend was not enshrined in the United States Constitution. The right to declare independence was not approved by the Republican Party. And I certainly don’t recall the Democratic Party either endorsing secession,” Pence said during his speech at CPAC on Friday.
During a speech at the conference on Saturday, the former vice president went on to add that he saw “a lot of dignity and a lot of honor” in the idea that Texas could take a different path. He called it “really remarkable.”
Secede’s proposal includes turning Texas into a separate state within the United States. “We call it Secede, for those who want to just get the hell out,” said McQueen. Secede would turn Texas into a “red state” or “solid blue state” and bring the state into a federal union of the blue states, ending all federal taxation, intervention, and intervention in Texas’ social policies.
Secede also advocates turning Texas into a republic “secured by the rule of law, including the restoration of the legal protections, civil rights, and political rights of American citizens.”
“This is very important. And I do understand, I’m one of the few who’s come here and had the unique opportunity to do this, and I have never been prouder to be an American,” McQueen said.
Secede gained a great deal of notoriety when Republicans supported their efforts last week. The group held a pro-Trump rally last Thursday in Austin that attracted thousands of supporters and ended in a stand-off with law enforcement.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, defended Secede, and said that he is happy that the group is raising questions about the constitutionality of SB4 and voting rights laws in Texas.
“People all over the country have spoken up and have challenged the most extreme elements,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s why we have many states around the country that are now looking at efforts to seek legal remedies. And in fact, in Texas, we’ve seen the Republican Party come to the defense of their law enforcement officials, to their prosecutors and to judges.”
Cruz also seemed to echo Pence’s remarks, saying that the possibility of turning Texas into a blue state makes him proud.
“The fight for American liberty is the fight to ensure that we have a country that’s governed by the rule of law and that every individual in this country is free, is equal, and is treated equally under the law. That’s what makes me proudest to be an American,” Cruz said.