Gov. Doug Ducey’s repeated condemnations of the violent mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol doesn’t extend to President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the insurrection that left five people dead.
Ducey declined to comment Friday when Arizona Mirror asked the governor what responsibility Trump bore for instigating the crowd that invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing members of Congress and staff to take shelter.
“What I want to talk about is a peaceful transition of power. That’s what has been the crowning jewel of American democracy for over 244 years. And that’s what we should experience in this election and transition cycle,” Ducey said.
Ducey condemned the attack — the first time the Capitol has been breached since British troops ransacked and burned the building in 1814 — on Jan. 6. But he has declined to blame Trump for his role in the melee. He has also offered no criticism or comment on the role played by three fellow Republicans from Arizona’s congressional delegation.
The attack occurred while Congress was debating objections to the certification of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, which President-elect Joe Biden won in the Nov. 3 election.
Congress’s role under the U.S. Constitution is limited to counting electoral votes, but in the event a state submits rival slates of electors, lawmakers must decide which to accept. No state submitted multiple slates of electors — Trump electors in several states, including Arizona, purported to cast faux votes for the president — but Trump and many of his allies harbored hopes that Congress could overturn the election due to baseless allegations of fraud.
Arizona was the first of six disputed states to come up for certification, and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, along with Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, objected to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes, prompting the joint session of Congress to dissolve so the House of Senate could debate and vote on the objections separately. It was during that debate when the crowd forced its way into the building.
The shocking attack on the Capitol wasn’t enough to dissuade dozens of Republican members of Congress from continuing their opposition to the certification of Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. Gosar, along with Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs and Debbie Lesko, voted against certifying Arizona’s electors after the invaders were removed from the building, with Congressman David Schweikert the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation to vote for certification. Schweikert later joined Biggs, Gosar and Lesko in opposing the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors later that night.
Trump had spent weeks urging his followers to come to Washington, D.C., to contest the election results, frequently repeating falsehoods about election fraud and other alleged irregularities in the election, despite a total lack of evidence to back up those claims. On Jan. 6, he urged a crowd of thousands to march on the Capitol.
Ducey’s lack of comment is nothing new. Since the election he has repeatedly sidestepped questions about baseless election fraud claims, even after Trump lashed out at him for certifying the results — a ministerial duty required by state law — on Dec. 4. And despite that break, he has remained hesitant to criticize the president, even while some Republicans have called on Trump to resign or be removed from office before Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.