Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is facing increased scrutiny from constituents and citizens around the country after a video of him heavily slurring his words went viral on social media.
Viewers of the video suspected Phelan’s bizarre speech pattern might have been medical or neurological in nature, but wondered why if that were the case he continued presiding over the state legislator for the remainder of the session.
Therefore, some speculation turned to potential inebriation. Twitter comments, including those from a user who posted the video, alleged that elected officials have a pastime of working while buzzed.
“Anyone who watches the #txlege House knows many of the members are regularly intoxicated,” Jonathan Stickland wrote on Twitter after sharing the widely-seen video. Stickland is a former member of the Texas House, where he served for eight years.
“Watching the Speaker be this wasted is absolutely unacceptable,” he continued. “These Representatives are making laws that impact 30 million Texans. It must stop.”
Take a look and decide for yourself what is happening.
In another tweet from Greg Price, who appears to have first circulated the video, he says that Phelan is either “really drunk or having a stroke.” In a follow-up, he noted that “Interestingly, nobody stopped and asked him if he was okay. The House just kept on debating a bill and Phelan kept on going until they adjourned.”
This is video from last night in the Texas House of Representatives where it appears that TX House Speaker Dade Phelan is either really drunk or having a stroke. pic.twitter.com/dbSG7AO30r
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 20, 2023
The American Tribune posted a video to one of its Facebook accounts and the tech’s services could not even render close captioning. A transcript offered by an online service captured his words as follows:
“The speaker on move adoption. Mr. Campbell send them member is a separately author. Is there objection to the option limit the jury members adopted?
The Chair recognizes Mr. Mr. Johnson of Harris. Mr. Johnson appears to speak in opposition to the bill. You want the chair The Chair recognizes niobate criado to speak in opposition to the bill. Thank you Miss.”
“So why was he slurring his words?” the Twitter aggregate site Twitchy asked. “Naturally, there are other possibilities, such as medication having a strong effect on him or perhaps he was simply tired. We don’t pretend to know for sure. We checked his official website and his twitter feeds and he hasn’t said anything publicly since May 18.”
To be clear, there is no indication or definitive proof of alcohol playing a role. One Twitter user even suggested that these mannerisms were common for Phelan.
One account said it resembled the effects of medication. Another said it looked neurological in nature.
What’s clear is that nearly everyone who has seen the video expressed concern. As criticism of Joe Biden and John Fetterman’s ability to speak has been called into question during their respective tenures in elected office recently, it is only fair to demand the same level of performance from officials – regardless of political alignment.
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