Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) is considered by many to be a rising star within the GOP. As a well-spoken and social media-savvy former Navy SEAL, it’s not hard to see why he was quickly embraced by the Right after being elected to Congress in 2018. However, a heated exchange over the 2020 election results are an indication that Crenshaw may not have as much of a future in the current conspiracy-driven Republican Party as previously thought.
“Don’t kid yourself into believing that’s why we lost,” Crenshaw said at a Republican fundraiser in Illinois on Wednesday, referring to the Big Lie that Trump actually won the 2020 election and the Democrats stole it through massive fraud. “It’s not, it’s not! I’ll tell you openly.”
Bobby Pitton, a Republican running for Senate in Illinois, did not want to hear it. “You’re wrong,” said Pitton repeatedly as he talked over Crenshaw. “It’s gonna turn out and it’s gonna flip,” he continued, referring to the controversial and bizzare election audit in Arizona’s Maricopa county where Republicans enlisted Cyber Ninjas and searched for bamboo-laced ballots from China.
“Five different states? Hundreds of thousands of votes?” You’re kidding yourself” Crenshaw responded.
Pitton’s campaign uploaded a clip of the exchange to Youtube, with the description referring to Crenshaw as a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) and comparing him to Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, two House Republicans who have forcefully denounced the Big Lie and sit on the January 6 Committee. “Crenshaw is so sanctimonious and cocky and represents one of many intellectually dishonest Congressmen in our party who don’t care about FREEDOM LOVING PATRIOTS in Texas needs to jump in and PRIMARY CRENSHAW!” read the video description.
However, Crenshaw has not been nearly as consistent as Kinzinger and Cheney in pushing back against the Big Lie and the GOP’s descent down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. In December, he was one of 126 House Republicans to sign an amicus brief supporting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit challenging the results in four battleground states that Biden won. The brief claimed that the 2020 election was “riddled with an unprecedented number of serious allegations of fraud and irregularities.” The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the lawsuit and Crenshaw later tried to downplay his role in the affair. He went on to acknowledge Biden’s victory and voted to certify the result of the election.
Crenshaw has tried to have it both ways when it comes to the Big Lie. However, his spat with Pitton shows that in today’s Republican Party you have to be totally with Trump and his baseless claims that the election was stolen or be called a RINO. While it’s hard to question Crenshaw’s conservative credentials after perusing his Twitter feed, he may find that it’s not enough to make it in a GOP that’s increasingly fueled by delusions and conspiracy theories.
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