The Arizona Republican Party, in an anticipated move Saturday, approved resolutions censuring Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyNational Guardsmen begin leaving Washington following controversial deployment Cindy McCain on possible GOP censure: ‘I think I’m going to make T-shirts’ Arizona’s GOP governor to attend Biden inauguration MORE (R), former GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden’s inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE and Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg wears ‘my vice president’ shirt day after inauguration Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE (R).
The public rebukes, which are largely symbolic, came after both McCain and Flake endorsed President Biden in the 2020 election. The party cited Ducey’s coronavirus restrictions as the reason behind his censure.
The Arizona Republic reported that the resolution to condemn Ducey argued his emergency safety rules “restrict personal liberties and force compliance to unconstitutional edicts.”
Meanwhile, the party at its statewide meeting Saturday argued that McCain “has supported globalist policies and candidates” and “condemned President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE for his criticism of her husband and erroneously placed behaviors over actual presidential results.”
The state GOP said that Flake has “condemned the Republican Party, rejected populism, and rejected the interests of the American people over globalist interests,” adding that Flake should join the Democratic Party.
When contacted by The Hill, Flake repeated a statement he issued on Twitter earlier this month when the censure resolutions were first announced: “If condoning the president’s behavior is required to stay in the Party’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs.”
Following the party’s vote Sunday, Flake tweeted a photo of himself posing with McCain and Ducey at Biden’s inauguration this week, along with the caption, “Good company.”
Good company pic.twitter.com/1pdgVGE5Ps
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 24, 2021
Biden won the state of Arizona in the 2020 election over Trump, the first time a Democrat has done so in over 20 years. Biden carried the Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area, over the Republican incumbent in a win that helped him to clinch victory.
McCain and members of her family have been critical of Trump in the past, and the late senator caught the ire of the former president when he was serving in the Senate.
Cindy McCain honored her late husband’s friendship with Biden during a video that aired during the Democratic National Convention in August, 2020. Both her husband and Biden’s son Beau passed away from the same form of brain cancer.
Flake, who retired from the Senate in 2019, previously cut a political ad for Biden before the election stating that to hold the high office, “character matters.”
Sara Mueller, Ducey’s political director, said in a statement to The Hill that she believed the censures would carry little weight.
“These resolutions are of no consequence whatsoever, and the people behind them have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had,” she said.
The McCain Institute did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment.
However, shortly after the Arizona GOP’s resolution was approved, McCain tweeted that she wears the censure as a “badge of honor.”
It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well…and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) January 24, 2021
The Arizona GOP also did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for additional comment on the votes.
The censures came toward the end of the Arizona GOP’s seven-hour meeting, at which the party also voted to reelect Kelli Ward for another two-year term as the organization’s chairwoman after she played a recorded phone call of Trump endorsing her, according to The New York Times.
The Arizona GOP, following the 2020 election, repeated claims of voter fraud in the state, though these were later disputed by local courts, and Ward and other Arizona Republicans have increasingly aligned themselves with Trump.
Updated 10:12 p.m.