After years of loyal support for President Donald Trump, Gov. Doug Ducey became the latest target of the president’s ire after certifying Arizona’s 2020 general election results, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s historic win in the traditional conservative stronghold of Arizona.
Trump on Monday afternoon retweeted a comment declaring that Ducey “has betrayed the people of Arizona,” adding his own commentary, “TRUE!”
That comment came just after another tweet in which Trump chastised Ducey for “rushing” to sign the statewide election canvass. He retweeted a comment noting that the certification of Arizona’s election results allow Democratic Senator-elect Mark Kelly, who defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, to be sworn in immediately.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2020
Kelly will be sworn in on Wednesday, narrowing the GOP’s advantage in the Senate to 52-48. His swearing-in comes earlier than other Senate contest winners from the general election because his race was a special election to fill the final two years of the term John McCain was elected to in 2016.
“Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now. @OANN What is going on with @dougducey? Republicans will long remember!” the president tweeted, referring to One America News Network, an avowedly pro-Trump cable network that he often praises.
State law mandates that the secretary of state, governor, attorney general and Arizona Supreme Court chief justice certify the canvass on the fourth Monday after the general election.
Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now. @OANN What is going on with @dougducey? Republicans will long remember! https://t.co/XILGaHcyw7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2020
Trump’s comment referenced a self-styled hearing hosted by a group of Republican state legislators in downtown Phoenix on Monday. The lawmakers, accompanied by Trump campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, spent hours listening to testimony from people who questioned Arizona’s election results.
Among the spurious claims aired at the hearing — the latest in a series of baseless and fact-free claims of fraud regarding election results in Arizona and elsewhere in the wake of Trump’s defeat — were allegations that election workers in Maricopa didn’t actually verify the signatures on the nearly 2 million early ballots that voters cast, and that the ballot tabulation machines used by election officials may have been programmed to give Biden 1.3 votes for every vote Trump received. Neither claim has a shred of evidence to back it up.
Trump called into Monday’s hearing to reiterate his criticism of Ducey and repeat the baseless allegations that the election in Arizona was “rigged” against him.
“You have a governor named Ducey,” Trump said, eliciting a chorus of boos from the crowd at the Hyatt Regency before launching into a tirade about the governor allegedly rushing to allow Kelly to be sworn in.
Trump said his campaign will likely file new lawsuits on Tuesday in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two other states he has baselessly alleged Biden won through fraud, though he didn’t mention any new litigation in Arizona, despite the purported day of evidence regarding election malfeasance in the state.
And the president had a parting shot for Ducey before he hung up the phone, which Ellis held up to a microphone: “Arizona will not forget what Ducey just did.”
Ducey responded Monday night with a series of comments on Twitter, defending the conduct of Arizona’s elections and his actions in signing the election canvass.
The governor has often boasted that Arizona “makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” and said on Monday that the state has “some of the strongest laws in the country” when it comes to elections. He touted Arizona’s voter identification requirement at the polls and noted that election workers verify every signature on early ballots, with bipartisan observers present. He also pointed out that Arizona prohibits “ballot harvesting” — the practice of collecting other voters’ early ballots for delivery to election officials — and doesn’t count early ballots that arrive after election day.
“The problems that exist in other states simply don’t apply here,” Ducey said.
Ducey said state law required him to approve the election results by today. The law doesn’t permit a delay in certifying the state election canvass unless counties decline to certify their own results, he said, which didn’t happen.
“That’s the law. I’ve sworn an oath to uphold it, and I take my responsibility seriously,” Ducey said.
The governor also noted that the election canvass triggers a five-day window for anyone who wants to challenge the election results in court. Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward is challenging the results, alleging that Maricopa County could have theoretically verified signatures on early ballots in error and changed votes on “duplicated” ballots that couldn’t be read by tabulation machines, though she has yet to present any evidence that such misconduct occurred.
I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason. 1/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) December 1, 2020
But Ducey didn’t directly address Trump’s attacks against him, nor did he refute the baseless election fraud claims being promoted by the president and other prominent Republicans, including legislators, members of Congress and others from Arizona. The governor has consistently refused to explicitly reject those claims or say that fraud didn’t influence the election results in Arizona.
Trump’s broadsides against the governor come despite Ducey’s years of loyalty and his recent hesitance to acknowledge Arizona’s election results. Ducey repeatedly refused to say Biden won the state, often noting that there was pending litigation over the election and that Trump and the other plaintiffs had a right to be heard in court.
While discussing state and federal responses to the COVID-19 crisis during a July press conference, Ducey emphasized his close relationship with Trump and said he set the presidential anthem “Hail to the Chief” as his ringtone for any call from the White House. On Monday, as he signed the state election canvass, the song began playing from the cell phone in his suit pocket.
Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin said that call could have come from numerous members of the Trump administration and that he doesn’t know who it was from. He said “Hail to the Chief” plays for any call from the White House switchboard.
Ducey wasn’t the only prominent Republican whom Trump lashed out against on Monday regarding election results and unfounded fraud claims. He reiterated his criticism of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who has defended the integrity of the election in his state, which Biden won.