In an interview released on Wednesday, CNN's Dana Bash interviewed Texas state Rep. Travis Clardy — and boxed him in on why his party was so desperate to pass legislation restricting voting rights, even as he admitted that the 2020 election wasn't stolen.
Clardy explained that he and his fellow Republicans needed to pass legislation addressing Trump supporters' false claims about the 2020 election being stolen because otherwise they wouldn't trust the system.
"It was, again, put out in the political arena for consumption," Clardy said of distrust in the election.
"That's by definition a straw man," shot back Bash. "As leaders you're supposed to say, that's not real, we're going to do what needs to be done, not what you think needs to be done because you're believing conspiracy theories."
"So was it a surprise when we had the big Snowmageddon in Texas and the electric grid nearly collapsed and we got that back up, but was it a surprise we came back in and the issue we took up was fixing the power grid and restructuring ERCOT and the the PUC in Texas?" Clardy countered.
"But the 2020 election was not stolen, and the electrical grid really was broken," noted Bash in a voice-over.
"That was what was on our minds," continued Clardy. "Coming into the session in January was right at the conclusion of that election cycle and then the attack on our Capitol. So elections were on our mind. And so it's not unusual for us to take those things that are topical, that are hot at the moment, that people are focused on, and, okay, is there policy we need to review?"
The Texas law, among other things, adds new restrictions to the state's already excuse-only mail-in voting process, bans 24-hour and drive-through voting disproportionately used in minority precincts, and gives new powers to poll watchers to observe voting places.
Dana Bash corners Travis Clardy on Texas GOP-backed voting restrictions www.youtube.com