Arizona State House Republican Speaker Rusty Bowers has spoken out against Trumpism in a deepening row with former President Donald Trump over his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee.
Mr. Bowers testified before the House Select Committee investigating on January 6 after voting for Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020. But the speaker did not buy into the lie propagated by the former president and his allies that the 2020 election was stolen from Mr. Trump. .
Mr. Bowers, 69, was censured by the Arizona GOP a month after testifying. On June 21, Mr. Bowers told the committee that Mr. Trump had pressured him to cancel the results in Arizona, a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won.
“I don’t want to win by cheating, I won’t play by the laws I swore allegiance to,” he said at the time.
“Rusty Bowers is a RINO coward who went against the Republican Party on the totally partisan committee of thugs and political hacks the other day and disgraced himself and he disgraced the State of Arizona,” Mr. Trump to a rally crowd in Prescott Valley on July 22.
Mr. Bowers responded to Mr. Trump’s attacks during an interview with ABC News.
“I’ve sometimes thought that someone born the way he was raised the way he was – he has no idea what a tough life is and what people have to go through in the real world. He doesn’t have no idea what courage is, and the last place on earth I would want to do evil would be the state of Arizona,” he said in the interview that aired on Sunday.
“How do you explain the hold he has, however, on Republicans, including a lot of Republican leaders here in Arizona?” ABC News asked Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
“They rule through brutality and intimidation. So you know, they’ve found a niche, they’ve found a way and it’s fear, and people can use fear, demagogues like to use fear as a weapon. And they weaponize everything, and we all know that. But it is not leadership for me to use brutality,” Mr Bowers said.
Regarding the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, Mr Bowers said: “If we want to build a party and an authority and get people to solve problems, you can’t base it on a lie. In the end, it falls apart.
“I’ve had people stand up and say, you know, just cold turkey, ‘I’m ashamed of you,'” he said, adding that he had been called ” traitor” and that he had been told that “the price of treason is suspended”.
“Have you ever considered accepting it?” Mr. Karl asked.
“I said, this is new to me. The idea of rejecting the election of the president is like, okay, so what part of Jupiter can I land on and colonize? he added.
“You asked [Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani] for proof of fraud? asked Mr. Karl.
“Over and over again, and he said, ‘yes, yes.’ And he never gave us anything. No names, no data, nothing,” the speaker said.
“So just to clarify, you don’t support Trump anymore?” Mr. Karl asked.
“I am not. My vote will never tarnish his name on a ballot,” Mr Bowers said.
“I will never vote for him,” he added. “But I won’t have to, because I think America is tired. And there are absolutely energetic, qualified, morally, defensible and upright people. And that’s what I want. That’s what I want in my party. And that’s what I want to see.
The Independent Gt