Rusty Bowers, the GOP Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, defended his testimony to the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol insurgency, saying he “will never vote again” for former President Donald Trump.
During an interview on TBEN’s This week Bowers, released Sunday, spoke of the pressure he was facing from Trump and his associates in an effort to undo the results of the 2020 Arizona presidential election, where Biden won by nearly 11,000 votes.
Bowers joined a list of Republicans who have broken with the former president and testified against him before the Select House committee. In his testimony, Bowers said Trump and his legal team were discussing a plot with him that would allegedly appoint pro-Trump election officials to falsely declare a victory for the former president in the state.
“Have you ever thought of going along with that?” host Jonathan Karl asked Bowers during the interview that took place at his home in Mesa, Arizona.
“That’s new to me. I’ve never heard of that. The idea of rejecting the presidential election is like, okay, so what part of Jupiter can I land and colonize on?” said Bowers.
He also said he had repeatedly asked Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for evidence to back up voter fraud allegations that thousands of dead people had voted in Arizona. However, according to Bowers, Giuliani “never” provided any name, data or anything that would prove the validity of those claims.
“If we want to establish a party and an authority and get people to solve problems, you can’t base it on a lie. It will eventually fall apart,” said Bowers, who defeated Trump-backed candidate David Farnsworth in a primary. for the Arizona Senate on Tuesday.
However, his fate in the upcoming election is uncertain after the Arizona GOP formally censored him for his Jan. 6 testimony, which has also prompted him to look critically and face threats.
“People would walk up to me and say… ‘I’m ashamed of you,'” he said, adding that he was also called a “traitor” and that the “price of betrayal hangs.”
Trump even criticized him at a rally in Prescott, Arizona, last week.
“Rusty Bowers, he’s a RINO [‘Republican in name only’] coward who recently took part against the Republican party on the all-partisan, unelected committee of political thugs and hacks, and disgraced himself, and he disgraced the state of Arizona,” Trump told the crowd, according to TBEN News.
When asked about Trump’s comments about him, Bowers replied, “I’ve sometimes thought that someone was born the way he was and raised the way he was, he [Trump] has no idea what a hard life is, and what people have to go through in the real world. He has no idea what courage is.”
In another case, the ex-President Bowers threatened to tape a conversation between them that he suggested might contradict his January 6 testimony.
Meanwhile, Bowers was asked for his opinion on Trump’s influence on GOP leaders in Arizona.
“Well, those leaders in Arizona are an interesting group in their own right. They rule by violence and intimidation,” he said. “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. That’s not leadership for me to use violence .”
In addition, Bowers said of the opportunity to vote for Trump again in case he decides to run for office in 2024: “My vote will never tarnish his name on a ballot.”
“I will never vote for him,” Bowers added. “But it doesn’t have to be, because I think America is tired. And there are definitely powerful, qualified, moral, defensible and sincere people. And that’s what I want. That’s what I want in my party. And that’s what I want.” want to see.”
News week contacted Trump’s media office for comment.