Rep Ronny Jackson was speaking at a conservative conference hosted by Faith & Freedom Coalition on 18 June about the Republican party’s future and the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. It was caught on video as he seemed to hint that gerrymandering was a method his party was relying on to “get back the House”.
Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 midterms, and as Mr Jackson acknowledged they retained it in 2020, despite Republicans gaining a few seats, which therefore weakened the Democrats’ majority.
Gerrymandering is a method of drawing up voting districts in an effort to create a political advantageous geographic area.
The representative for Texas’ 13th Congressional District said, "We have redistricting coming up and the Republicans control most of that process in most of the states around the country," he told the audience. "That alone should get us the majority back.”
Voting rights activists said they were aware of the problem but believed the growing opposition to the state’s government could not silenced forever.
“I am very clear and sober-minded as to what will happen and what is most likely to happen as far as gerrymandering goes and with there being no Voting Rights Act as well,” lawyer Akilah Bacy told The Guardian. “You might be able to quiet the people for a moment, but you cannot silence a state that is growing in the way that Texas is growing.”
Prior to becoming an elected representative in 2020, Mr Jackson worked as a White House physician to two former presidents; Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He was nominated to work in Mr Trumps’ cabinet as secretary for Veterans Affairs as he was previously an admiral in the Navy. He removed himself from consideration for the position following allegations of misconduct, including misuse of prescriptions, being drunk on work trips and managing a toxic work culture.