Arizona state House Speaker Russell 'Rusty' Bowers said Donald Trump waged an illegal and unconstitutional campaign to steal the 2020 election — but said he'd vote for him again anyway if he ran in 2024.
One of the key witnesses in the Jan. 6, 2021, congressional committee's hearings said he'd vote for former President Donald Trump again if he ran for president in 2024 — even after testifying under oath that Trump engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional effort to steal the 2020 election.
Arizona state House Speaker Russell "Rusty" Bowers told the Associated Press that he'd still cast his ballot for Trump if he was the GOP nominee against President Joe Biden in two years.
"If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I'd vote for him again," Bowers told the AP. "Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the county. In my view it was great."
Bowers said he would vote for Trump again ahead of his Tuesday testimony before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Bowers got emotional during his appearance before the committee as he told the story of his refusal to go along with Trump and former Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani's illegal and unconstitutional scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Bowers testified that in the wake of the November 2020 election, both Trump and Giuliani tried to get him to install fake Republican "electors" to overturn Biden's Electoral College victory.
"It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired," Bowers told the committee. "I would not do it."
He also told the committee about being the target of harassment and threats of violence from Trump supporters who were angry that Bowers did not overturn the election results in Arizona. According to Bowers, Trump supporters regularly came to his neighborhood every week with loudspeakers to make baseless accusations that Bowers is a pedophile and a corrupt politician.
"Up until recently, it is a new pattern in our lives to worry what will happen on Saturdays," the Arizona Republican told the committee.
Trump even attacked Bowers again on Tuesday, calling Bowers a "RINO" — which stands for Republican in Name Only — and claiming that Bowers told him the election was rigged.
Bowers, for his part, won the 2022 Profile in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The award "recognizes a public official (or officials) at the federal, state, or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership," according to the organization.
In bestowing the award to Bowers, the presidential library wrote that Bowers "resisted intense pressure from Trump and Rudy Giuliani and refused to go along with an illegal scheme to replace Arizona's legal slate of electors with a false slate of electors who would elect Trump."
Bowers' assertion that he'd still vote for Trump again left other Republicans who have stopped supporting Trump and have tried to convince fellow Republicans to do the same despondent.
"This is why this Republican Party can't be saved," former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who has criticized his party for continuing to support Trump, tweeted. "Rusty Bowers, one of yesterday's heroes, said today he'd still vote for Trump if Trump is the nominee in 2024. Bowers acknowledged Trump illegally tried to steal the election, and yet he'd STILL vote for him again."
Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), who helped advise the Jan. 6 committee, also tweeted his dismay at Bowers' comments.
"I never want to run for office again, but I fear we might all have to jump into the fire over the next couple years," Riggleman tweeted, referring to Bowers' assertion that he'd vote for Trump again. "This is a problem."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.