A couple of weeks ago, NRSC chair, Rick Scott, another Florida total Trump lackey, told the media that his top priority for the Arizona Senate race next year would be to recruit Governor Doug Ducey to change his mind and run against conservative DINO incumbent Mark Kelly. Last night, Trump brought his routine to just 5,000 fans at Arizona Federal Theatre in downtown Phoenix and he made it more than clear that no matter what Ducey decides, he is no longer welcome in Trump's Republican Party.
In a dull 107 minute speech, Trump predicted vindication from the nonsensical Ninja audit, while ripping Ducey, repeating his false claims about the election and reliving his favorite moments in the White House, ad hominem spewing tidbit like "In my opinion, there’s no way [Democrats] win elections without cheating. What you’re doing here is incredible. The 2020 election was a total disgrace. I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy; I’m trying to save American democracy."
Trump cited previously debunked matters from the review and likely raised the political pressure on Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, saying he hoped the state’s top law enforcement officer would act on the information gathered by the ballot review.
“Hopefully he’s going to do what everybody knows has to be done,” Trump said of Brnovich, who is running for the U.S. Senate in a Republican primary where Trump’s endorsement could be decisive.
Trump’s speech capped an event in which three of Arizona’s Republicans in Congress also baselessly fueled doubt about the state’s election results and one of them, Rep. Paul Gosar, put a spotlight on his guest: the mother of the woman shot to death as she tried to climb through a barricaded door during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Unlike his campaign speeches last year that cast America as having dispatched its most troublesome problems, Trump painted the nation again in dark terms. The U.S. is prisoner to Democrats whose “radical left Marxist maniacs” are unraveling border security and triggering inflation in the economy.
Trump also castigated “weak Republicans” whom he said are RINOs-- Republicans in name only. He took particular aim at Ducey, who memorably ignored a call from Trump to certify Arizona’s victory for President Joe Biden.
Trump said no one applauded Ducey on the campaign trail and vowed that if the governor runs for the U.S. Senate or future office, “he’s not getting my endorsement.”
Trump’s approval hung over the event, hosted by Turning Point Action, a Phoenix-based political organization supporting conservative causes that was co-founded by conservative commentator Charlie Kirk.
Most Arizona Republicans competing for the U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state were on hand and made their pitch to Trump’s supporters, and sought his approval.
For the candidates, the rally offered an early gauge of their appeal to the core of Republicans who may make up a disproportionate share of primary voters a year from now.
By that measure, Kari Lake, a former TV news anchor running for governor, wowed the crowd from start to finish in her five minutes on stage.
When Trump mentioned each candidate by name, Lake received the only sustained ovation.
“Wow,” Trump said. “This could be a big night for you.”
During her turn at the lectern earlier in the day, Lake condemned “backstabbing politicians who turned their backs on President Trump” the day after Election Day. The crowd loudly agreed with a comment vague enough to perhaps target Ducey and Brnovich.
Brnovich didn’t attend the event, citing a longtime family commitment. Trump has ripped Brnovich, who said shortly after Election Day that Arizona had many people who voted for Republicans but not at the top of the ticket.
Ducey heads the Republican Governors Association but didn’t attend the forum that included four Republicans hoping to succeed him in office. Trump has repeatedly disparaged Ducey.
At one point, Trump lauded the “tremendous courage” of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, a close ally of his in the state, in part because she sticks it to Ducey.
“She’s really a fighter, and she fights your governor who doesn’t do a damn thing,” Trump said.
One candidate felt the sting of the crowd’s boos. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, who is running for secretary of state, ended her remarks abruptly after the crowd booed her the entire time she was on stage.
Ugenti-Rita said she isn't supportive of the ongoing ballot review, a position the crowd would not reward.
...Trump singled out several state senators for praise, including Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, and state Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert.
“She's been brave. She’s been strong,” Trump said of Fann. “And I predict when the votes come in … I think they are going to be so horrible that she’s going to go three steps further than she ever thought she’d have to. Because they will be, in my opinion, and again I’m not involved, they’re involved, this is the Arizona State Senate, I think the results are going to be so outrageous … that they are going to go many steps further than they would have.”
In 2016 Trump won Arizona 1,252,401 (48.08%) to 1,161,167 (44.58%)-- with 74.17% turnout. Last year the turnout was significantly higher-- 79.9%-- and Biden beat Trump 1,672,143 (49.36%) to 1,661,686 (49.06%). Only Georgia was closer.
You know, as long as we're discussing Señor Trumpanzee, I'd like to republish a fun essay for you that Cornell University professor of American studies Glenn Altschuler wrote for The Hill this morning, Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump. How many of us have run scenarios like this through our minds over the last 4-5 years? Altschuler just did it way better than most.
“One of the things I have is really good judgment,” former President Trump claimed. “I think I have a really good temperament. ... I certainly have a great relationship with people. I get along with everybody.” During his campaign in 2016, Trump pledged he would appoint “the very best people” to his Cabinet and administration.
As president, Trump selected people to serve in the most important positions in the United States government. Anyone interested in assessing his judgment should pay attention to his reasons for choosing them and his subsequent assessments of their performance in office.
When he appointed Army Gen. Mark Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2019, Trump said he had “absolute confidence he will fulfill his duty with the same brilliance and fortitude he has shown throughout his long and very distinguished career.” In January 2020, after Milley apologized for allowing the military to be involved in removing protesters at a Washington, D.C., rally, the president declared Milley should “resign and be replaced with someone who is actually willing to defend our military from the Leftist radicals who hate our Country and our Flag.” In July 2020, Trump explained that he gave Milley the job because former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, whom he also had appointed, “could not stand him, had no respect for him, and would not recommend him” and because former President Obama “didn’t like him and actually fired Milley. I often act counter to people’s advice who I don’t respect.”
Trump declared in July 2018, “I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court justice.” Brett Kavanaugh, his nominee, had “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds in our time,” Trump said. After Kavanaugh failed to vote to ax the Affordable Care Act or affirm Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election, Trump fumed that Kavanaugh “doesn’t have the courage you need to be a great justice.” Trump implied that “his” justices should put loyalty to him ahead of their oath to uphold the Constitution. “Where would he be without me?” Trump asked of Kavanaugh. “I saved his life. He wouldn’t even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced.”
In December 2018, Trump praised William Barr, his choice as attorney general, as “one of the most respected jurists in the country ... a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man.” In February 2020, Trump defended the then-embattled Barr as a “very straight shooter,” a person of “incredible integrity” whose “commitment to the rule of law, the Constitution, and the American people has proven this trust to be well-placed.” But when Barr announced that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, Trump reportedly exploded: “How the fuck could you do this to me?” Trump has now concluded that Barr is a “RINO,” or Republican in name only, a “hypocrite” who “went out in a whimper” and a “disappointment in every sense of the word.”
Mike Pence, a “man of honor, character, and integrity ... a man I truly believe will be outstanding for our country,” was Trump’s first choice for vice president, Trump told Americans in 2016. When Pence began to maintain that the Constitution required him to certify the results presented by the Electoral College in 2020, Trump reportedly concluded Pence was “a stiff and a square,” a person “who could be rolled.”
“Do you want to be a patriot or a pussy?” he reportedly asked the vice president.
Any doubts about whether Trump’s self-acknowledged lapses of judgment constitute a pattern?
Just 11 days after Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci (“a person I have great respect for”) as White House director of communications in 2017, he fired him. “I barely knew him until his 11 days of incompetence,” Trump subsequently explained. A “highly unstable nut job,” Scaramucci (Trump said) “made a fool of himself, abused staff, got fired.”
Trump maintained that the directors of National Intelligence, the FBI and the CIA he appointed were “extremely passive and naïve” and “should go back to school.”
Trump initially deemed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “brilliant, one of the truly great business leaders of the world” but later called him “dumb as a rock. ... I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.”
Gen. John Kelly, “a true star of my Administration ... respected by everybody,” Trump later claimed was “over his head” as chief of staff.
“A world class legal mind and considered a truly great attorney general,” Jeff Sessions became-- in Trump’s subsequent judgement-- mentally unqualified to hold the office.
The initially “great John Bolton,” director of the National Security Council, eventually was deemed “incompetent,” a “wacko” who “never had a clue, was ostracized and happily dumped.”
Gen. James Mattis, “a brilliant, wonderful man ... the real deal,” turned-- in Trump’s mind-- into “the world’s most overrated general” after he served as secretary of Defense. “What’s he done for me?” Trump asked.
This short list does not include former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, or former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price-- all of whom resigned amid allegations of ethics violations.
Does Trump have really good judgment? Did he appoint the very best people?
Trump has already provided very persuasive answers.