Rusty Bowers, the Republican Speaker of the Arizona State House of Representatives, on Tuesday detailed his efforts to thwart former President Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election by testifying to a select congressional committee investigating the January 6 U.S. Capitol uprising.
Bowers told the committee that Trump and his lawyers have not provided any evidence of fraud and that they have asked him to ignore the law and undo the election anyway. He got emotional at times as he described the barrage of violent threats he and his family have faced since then.
Bowers read from a newscast he wrote in December 2020, in which he completely rejected the then president’s attempts to undermine democracy: “I don’t want to be a winner by cheating,” he wrote. “I will not play with laws to which I have sworn allegiance.”
Hours later, Bowers said he would vote for Trump again.
“If he’s the nominee, if he’s up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said told The Associated Press† “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the province. In my eyes it was great.”
Bowers was among a small group of Republican elected officials who broke with Trump and refused to cooperate in the plot to undo the 2020 election. Now he is the latest among them to suggest he would still back Trump in a future contest, even as the former president and his Republican allies step up their efforts to undermine American democracy.
Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testified Tuesday about Donald Trump’s efforts to undo the 2020 election. Bowers has said he would vote for Trump again, and Raffensperger has declined to rule that out. (Photo: (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin))
Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s infamous request to “find” the votes needed to undo his state’s election results, locked in a new vote for Trump an interview with HuffPost last year.
“I think that’s so far in the future, I don’t even think he’s announced he’s still active,” Raffensperger, who testified alongside Bowers on Tuesday, said in November. “So let’s go back and talk about that in the future.”
Raffensperger did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s investigation on Wednesday.
And former Attorney General Bill Barr, who tried to convince Trump that his fraud allegations were baseless, said in March that he would back his old boss if Trump were the Republican nominee for 2024.
“I certainly made it clear that I don’t think he should be our nominee, and I’m going to support someone else for the nomination,” Barr said. said on the “Today” show†
But, he added, “because I believe the biggest threat to the country is the progressive agenda being pushed by the Democratic Party, it’s inconceivable to me not to vote for the Republican candidate.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, Bowers described Trump’s haphazard attempt to undo the 2020 election as a “tragic parody”. But since his reluctant departure from the presidency, Trump and his allies within the GOP have had a lot more… coordinated and deliberate attack on democracy, with the apparent aim of taking control of the country’s electoral system in a way that would make it much more likely that any future attempt to undermine an election will actually succeed.
Republican election deniers are lining up to run for major state offices and congressional seats across the country, with the major swing states that decided the 2020 game as their main focus. Candidates who have spread conspiracies over Trump’s defeat have already won primaries on major battlefields: the GOP nominee for governor in Pennsylvania tried to nullify the 2020 results in his state, while the Republican winner in Nevada’s Primary Secretary of State doubted the legitimacy of the outcome and has built a coalition of like-minded candidates in a bid to take back control of the US electoral system.
Dozens of Republicans who have embraced Trump’s lies have won congressional primaries, and the GOP is likely to nominate election deniers in statewide primaries in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In May, Raffensperger survived a Republican primaries against a Trump-approved challenger who voted twice to contest the results of the 2020 election in Congress, accusing Raffensperger of “compromising” Georgia’s election by refusing to help Trump topple it. Meanwhile, in Bowers’ Arizona, the GOP’s upcoming primary for governor and secretary of state has been dominated by candidates who have conspired over the last election or refused to commit to certifying future contests.
Trump’s hold on the GOP and his election has sparked deep fears among experts who worry that American democracy is far away? more vulnerable anticipating the next presidential contest than it was in 2020especially as the former president sets the stage for running again.
Trump has continued to hold campaign-style rallies since he left the White House, alluding to a… possible 2024 run as recently as last week.
A majority of Republican voters said they would support him in the GOP primaries if he ran as a candidate, according to a recent survey from Morning Consult. And Trump has made it clear that his loss in the 2020 election — as well as his failed attempt to undo the results — would be the leading theme in his next campaign.
“We will not forget 2020”, Trump said at a meeting in Georgia in October. “The most corrupt election in our country’s history. The most corrupt elections in the history of most countries, followed by an even more glorious victory in November 2024.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.