The Arizona GOP Censured Cindy McCain, Jeff Flake, and Gov. Ducey

Abigail Covington
·3-min read
Photo credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christian Petersen - Getty Images

From Esquire

Arizona Republicans voted Saturday to censure Cindy McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and current Gov. Doug Ducey. The censures are largely symbolic but represent a deepening fracture within the state’s Republican party. The party also reelected the divisive Chairwoman Kelli Ward. Ward is one of former President Trump’s staunchest allies and a fierce promoter of his baseless allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

McCain, Flake, and Ducey have all been openly critical of former President Trump. McCain, the widow of former Arizona senator John McCain, endorsed Joe Biden for president last September. According to the Associated Press, McCain was censured because of her support for Joe Biden. The Arizona GOP said Cindy McCain "has supported globalist policies and candidates" and "condemned President Trump for his criticism of her husband and erroneously placed behaviors over actual presidential results."

Jeff Flake is a longtime critic of Trump. In 2017, after announcing he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2018, Flake gave a speech in the senate denouncing President Trump and calling for a return to civility in politics. Despite his public criticisms of Trump, the website fivethirtyeight reported that Sen. Flake voted in accordance with his agenda 80% of the time. In 2020, Flake joined a “Republicans for Biden” group and campaigned for the Democratic candidate.

According to AZCentral, Gov. Ducey was censured over the actions he took to stop the spread of the coronavirus that the GOP said "restrict personal liberties and force compliance to unconstitutional edicts." Gov. Ducey was also berated by former President Trump after he refused to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state in the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden won Arizona by roughly 10,000 votes.

In their responses to being censured, McCain, Flake, and Ducey, to a lesser extent, highlighted the meaningless of the gesture. Cindy McCain wrote on Twitter “it is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.” Sen. John McCain was censured by the Arizona GOP in 2014 and went on to win re-election in 2016 after fighting off a primary challenge from Kelli Ward.

Mr. Flake struck a similar tone, writing “If condoning the President’s behavior is required to stay in the Party’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs.” A photo of the former senator with Cindy McCain and Gov. Ducey at Joe Biden’s inauguration accompanies the tweet.

Speaking on behalf of Gov. Ducey, political director Sara Mueller released a statement saying “These resolutions are of no consequence whatsoever and the people behind them have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had.”

Gov. Ducey’s former chief of staff Kirk Adam then laid out the dilemma the current Republican party is facing in clear terms: “This is a time for choosing for Republicans. Are we going to be the conservative party?” Or is this a party ... that’s loyal to a single person?”

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