Ousted Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers characterized Donald Trump and his supporters’ efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election as “fascism” — and is stunned that it’s his Republican Party that has declared war on the U.S. Constitution, he told The Guardian in an interview.
“The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on, and do it ourselves — that to me is fascism,” Bowers said in the interview published Sunday.
“The constitution is hanging by a thread,” Bowers warned.
“The funny thing is, I always thought it would be the other guys. And it’s my side. That just rips at my heart: that we would be the people who would surrender the constitution in order to win an election. That just blows my mind.”
Bowers lost his Republican primary race for a state Senate seat early this month in a targeted retaliation for his refusal to cooperate with Trump and the former president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani to try to toss out Arizona’s votes for Democrat Joe Biden in an effort to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.
Bowers’ opponent David Farnsworth, who was endorsed by Trump, not only baselessly insisted the election Trump lost was rigged but that it was snatched by the “devil himself.”
Bowers, a lifelong Republican who served in the Arizona House for 17 years, was one of the most compelling witnesses earlier this summer at a hearing before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
He recounted a high-pressure campaign by both Trump and Giuliani, who pushed him in a tense phone call to arbitrarily throw out the state’s electoral votes for Joe Biden.
Giuliani insisted to Bowers that “200,000 illegal immigrants” and more than 5,000 “dead people” voted in the state, Bowers testified. Bowers said he told Giuliani “multiple times” that he needed proof and Giuliani had promised to provide it. But Bowers testified that he never received proof, not a single name of a fraudulent vote, he testified.
“We’ve got lots of theories but we don’t have the evidence,” Giuliani later admitted, Bowers testified.
“There was no ― no evidence being presented of any strength … that would say to me, ‘You have a doubt. Deny your oath.’ I will not do that,” Bowers said of the men’s fraud claims.
Bowers testified that it’s a “tenet” of his Mormon faith that the Constitution is “divinely inspired, one of my most basic foundational beliefs,” he added. “So for me to do that because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being.”
He told The Guardian that he was thinking to himself at the time: “Wait, wait, wait … you’re asking me to overthrow the vote of the people of Arizona?”
Not only did the fourth-generation Arizonan find no evidence of fraud in his examination of voting in the state, he said he was not surprised Trump lost the election — though by just 10,000 votes in Arizona — he told The Guardian.
“We were very much aware that a demographic of women, 18 to 40 [year old], college-educated, professional, with small children were not voting for Donald Trump,” he told The Guardian.
Bowers voted for Trump in 2020 and campaigned for him. But now he sees Trump supporters’ adoption of conspiracy theories and bully tactics as a “prep game” for what was to come.
Bowers is shaken but has no regrets for the stance he took, he told The Guardian.
The GOP is now a party that “doesn’t have any thought. It’s all emotional, it’s all revenge. It’s all anger. That’s all it is, he said.
“The veneer of civilization is this thin,” he told the newspaper as he held his thumb and index finger close together. “It still exists ― I haven’t been hanged yet. But holy moly, this is just crazy. The place has lost its mind.”