Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said that the massive power outages caused by ice and snowstorms in Texas this week spotlight the skewed priorities inept Republican leaders have focused on in the Lone Star State.
“We are nearing a failed state in Texas,” O’Rourke told MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday. “And it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters. It has everything to do with the leadership and those in the positions of public trust who have failed us.”
O’Rourke argued that the blackouts hitting Texas were avoidable, saying that the deregulation of the state’s electric grid had resulted in many energy companies being unprepared for extreme weather events.
As of Wednesday morning, about 2.7 million households in Texans were without power, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
He also blamed Gov. Greg Abbott and other top Texas Republicans for focusing on “stupid culture battles.”
Among these battles, O’Rourke highlighted Abbott’s efforts to turn Texas into a sanctuary state for the National Rifle Association, as well as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s legislative priority to require the Dallas Mavericks play the national anthem before their basketball games, a measure dubbed the “Star-Spangled Banner Act.”
Instead of focusing on such matters, the Texas leaders should focus on more important issues, such as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the serious economic problems caused by the pandemic and ensuring that the state’s electrical grid is efficient.
“The energy capital of North America cannot provide the energy needed to warm and power people’s homes in this great state,” said O’Rourke, who briefly sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Emphasizing that climate change was sure to bring more unpredictable weather disasters, he added, “We know this stuff is coming. What we don’t know is whether or not leaders are prepared to make the tough political decisions to prepare us for that.”