Election 2024

Donald Trump could nominate anti-LGBTQ+ zealot Ken Paxton as attorney general

Donald Trump greets Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as Lt. Governor Dan Patrick follows at Austin Bergstrom International Airport on Nov. 20, 2019
Donald Trump greets Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2019 Photo: JAY JANNER / USA TODAY NETWORK via IMAGN

Former President Donald Trump has said that, if he wins the 2024 presidential election, he would consider nominating the anti-LGBTQ+Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for U.S. attorney general. Paxton is a Trump loyalist who aided Trump’s baseless attempts to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election.

“I would, actually,” Trump said last Saturday when a KDFW-TV reporter asked if he’d consider Paxton for the job. “He’s very, very talented. I mean, we have a lot of people that want that one and will be very good at it. But he’s a very talented guy.”

Paxton spoke at Trump’s January 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally, which later turned into an attempted coup at the Capitol that injured over 112 police officers and resulted in five deaths. Paxton also filed several unsuccessful lawsuits challenging Trump’s 2020 election loss in four battleground states, The Texas Tribune reported. The Texas Bar Association currently has a lawsuit filed against Paxton for the baseless lawsuits.

In seeming repayment for Paxton’s support, Trump endorsed Paxton in his 2022 re-election campaign, helping Paxton defeat three other Republican primary opponents. Trump also defended Paxton when he faced possible impeachment in the Texas legislature for alleged corruption charges.

“I fought for him when he had the difficulty and we won,” Trump told KDFW-TV. “He had some people really after him, and I thought it was really unfair.”

Two months ago, Paxton also faced felony securities fraud charges but was made to pay about $300,000 in restitution, complete 100 hours of community service, and take legal ethics classes, NBC News reported. In February, Paxton paid a $3.3 million settlement to four top aides who accused him of corruption and retaliation. Paxton requested the state legislature to pay for the settlement, but the state legislature refused and then formed a committee to investigate Paxton’s office.

The investigators said Paxton created a “climate of fear” in his office, retaliating against workers who brought up concerns. Paxton also allegedly used his office to help an Austin real estate developer who was also a donor. The developer also hired a woman who was in a relationship with Paxton, The New York Times reported.

Paxton was also one of several notable Republicans who showed up at Trump’s Manhattan trial regarding his alleged hush money payments to hide his alleged extramarital affair with adult video star Stormy Daniels.

If nominated by Trump, the Senate would have to approve of Paxton’s appointment as attorney general — this could prove difficult, especially if the upper chamber maintains a Democratic majority, especially with Paxton’s anti-LGBTQ+ legal actions.

In February 2022, Paxton issued a non-binding opinion stating that gender-affirming health care for transgender youth is a form of child abuse, a move that increased harassment of families with trans children. In December 2022, he sued the administration of President Joe Biden to allow adoption agencies to reject same-sex parents. In September 2021, his office sued the Biden administration for the First Amendment right to misgender trans employees.

More recently, he tried to get information on transgender patients who have been treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital, even though he has no legal jurisdiction to demand such records. Paxton has also sued the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) over new Title IX guidelines that make discrimination against LGBTQ+ students in education illegal and sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over its new federal guidelines outlawing discrimination against transgender employees.

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