Wyoming GOP chair talks secession over Trump impeachment

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Graig Graziosi
·3 min read
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Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne, who told Steve Bannon Wyoming and other western states were “paying attention” to secession efforts in Texas. (Facebook)
Wyoming GOP chairman Frank Eathorne, who told Steve Bannon Wyoming and other western states were “paying attention” to secession efforts in Texas. (Facebook)

The chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party said western US states were "paying attention" to secession efforts in Texas during an appearance on a far-right podcast.

Frank Eathorne, the GOP chairman in Wyoming, told former Donald Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon on his "War Room" podcast that the western states could take care of themselves if they left the country.

"We need to focus on the fundamentals," Mr Eathorne said. "We are straight talking, focused on the global scene, but we're also focused at home. Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we're keeping eyes on Texas too, and their consideration possible secession. They have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it's something we're all paying attention to."

Mr Bannon pushed back on Mr Eathorne's secession advocacy, and said that while he believed a populist, nationalist conservative government was what people wanted - despite the fact that conservatives lost the presidency and the Senate - that he would not support any sort of secession.

However, he did say Mr Eathorne could return to his show and they could discuss the ideas further.

Mr Eathorne appeared on the show to discuss Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney's vote to impeach Mr Trump.

The Casper Star Tribune asked Mr Eathorne if secession discussions had taken place among the state's GOP members.

"Only a brief conversation with the Texas GOP in earlier work with them," he said. "Won't come up again unless the grass roots brings it up."

Secession has long been an idea tossed around on the fringes of American society. It has gained some momentum in recent years as political polarisation has increased and the right wing has become more extreme.

Conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh told his 15.5m listeners that the he thought "we're trending toward secession," and in January Texas Congressman Kyle Biedermann said he would sponsor a bill putting secession on the ballot for fall 2021.

It's unclear if the vote would stand any chance at passing, but four years ago the Texas Nationalist Movement was only two votes shy of adding Texas secession language to the state's Republican platform.

Texas and Texans have always viewed themselves as essentially a nation within a nation, and mythic accounts of the state's entry into the US in 1845 maintain that Texas can leave the US if it so chooses.

It can't. Under the 1945 Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States, there is a stipulation allowing Texas to break itself up into no more than four smaller states. But no where in the resolution does it say Texas or those new states would be independent from the US.

Any and all secession efforts in the US would be viewed by the US Supreme Court as illegal, as established in the wake of the US Civil War.

“If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in 2006.

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