Arizona G.O.P. Censures Three High Members Criticized by Trump Loyalists
PHOENIX – The Arizona Republicans on Saturday rebuked three of the party’s most prominent figures and approved resolutions criticizing Governor Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, widow of former Senator John McCain.
Though largely symbolic, the political scolding during a state GOP meeting on Saturday underscored a widening rift in Arizona between party officials who have made it clear their loyalty rests with former President Donald J. Trump and those within the party who refused to support him or his efforts to reverse the Arizona election results won by President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
And well beyond Arizona, the divide reflects the strong divisions within the Republican Party at the national level following Mr Trump’s tumultuous departure from office.
The party cited Ms. McCain and Mr. Flake’s criticism of Mr. Trump and Mr. Ducey’s use of emergency orders in the context of the pandemic, which gave him widespread control over passing policies without legislative approval such as closing “non-essential” businesses gave in spring.
Both Mr. Flake and Ms. McCain endorsed Mr. Biden in the run-up to the November elections. Though Mr Ducey kept making it clear that he was supportive of Mr Trump, he cast a spell on some Republicans by defending the state’s electoral process rather than backing efforts to challenge the November results in court.
Mr McCain himself was censored by the State party in 2015 because of his vote results, which some Republican officials there felt were not conservative enough.
The criticism came at the end of a noisy seven hour meeting. Kelli Ward, the state party leader who has long been a Trump loyalist and a polarizing figure in Arizona politics, was reelected Saturday after playing a taped call from Mr. Trump enthusiastically supporting her.
Some Republicans who voted for Mr. Ducey were booed flatly, and no one spoke for Mrs. McCain. All three resolutions were adopted with a large margin.
“These resolutions have no consequence and the people behind them have lost the moral authority they once had,” wrote Sara Mueller, Mr Ducey’s political director, in a statement released minutes after the vote.
The party also approved resolutions setting out unlawful positions, such as calling for a revocation of the birthright, ending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, and hiring translations for official government services for non-English speakers and a those who “stand firm on the principles of only two sexes. “
The criticism vote comes two and a half months after Mr Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate in more than two decades to promote Arizona, and only the second Democrat in 50 years. For decades, Republicans controlled both seats in the U.S. Senate, but lost the first in 2018 and the second last year. Easily re-elected in 2018, Mr Ducey is the most prominent Republican still in office who has won nationwide.
Ms. McCain, Mr. Flake and Mr. Ducey each attended Mr. Biden’s inauguration Wednesday, and Ms. McCain was a member of the President’s Transitional Advisory Council. She reacted to the threatened criticism with a feeling of anger and amusement and jokes that she is in “good company” with her husband.
In the decision of no confidence against Ms. McCain, her support for “leftist causes such as gay marriage and the growth of the administrative state” and her approval of Mr. Biden was cited as being “in direct contradiction to Republican values, the interests of the.” American people and the United States Constitution. ”
Ms. McCain responded on Twitter, “It is a great honor to be part of a group of Arizonans who have served our state and nation so well … and who, like my late husband, John, have been censored by AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor. ”
And in a previous interview with the Republic of Arizona, Ms. McCain beat up the party chairman, Mrs. Ward, for pushing for reprimands.
She said Ms. Ward, as the party’s leader, “managed to turn Arizona blue in November for the first time since 1996”. She added, “Maybe she should be reminded that my husband has never lost an election in Arizona since his first win in 1982.”
Ms. Ward’s spokesman declined to respond to a request for comment.
The party’s resolution against Mr Flake states that he was “once a true conservative who supported freedom, republican values, republican candidates and Americanism” but has since “given up real republican values in advocating progressive and globalist ones Politicians known “.
Mr Flake wrote on Twitter that he was not affected by the criticism either.
“If it is necessary to condone the president’s conduct in order to stay in good hands with the party, I am fine,” he wrote.
Mr Ducey said in an interview on Friday that he gave “little to no time to think” about the vote.
“I think we are better and stronger as a party if we add people rather than the alternative,” he said.
None of the three Republicans plan to formally object to the criticism.
Many moderate Republican officials have dismissed the resolutions as a distraction, saying that they will largely serve to alienate other moderates in a state where independent voters make up nearly a third of the electorate.
Like other Republicans who voted against the blame, a state committee member Trey Terry blamed Ms. Ward.
“She made the party fail,” said Terry. “It’s your circus now, and the clowns have come out.”
The test of the strength of the Republican Party of Arizona in the post-Trump era is not far away – a seat in the US Senate and all national offices will be available in 2022.
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