Trump repeatedly attacked Ducey for signing off on the state’s election results.
When the Trump campaign announced that the Arizona Legislature would hold a public meeting Monday to review this year’s elections, there was just one problem.
Nobody told state lawmakers.
“There is no legitimacy to that claim and there are no hearings being held on that issue on Monday or any other day,” said Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-South Phoenix, the incoming Senate minority leader.
Only a handful of Republican lawmakers were present at the daylong hearing at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix as Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis continuously made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in Arizona’s election.
Trump even called in at one point to repeatedly attack Republican Gov. Doug Ducey for signing off on the election results that cemented Trump’s loss.
The meeting came as state officials certified the results of the election that awarded Arizona’s 11 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden, who beat Trump by 10,457 votes out of more than 3.4 million cast, on his way to an overwhelming win in the Electoral College.
No Official Hearing
Rios said Wednesday that she has heard “absolutely nothing” about any hearing. An aide to Senate President Karen Fann said she had not authorized any such hearings, and a spokesperson for Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers said the same.
The announcement about the alleged hearing came in a press release from the Trump campaign, which said Arizona was one of several battleground states whose legislatures were planning election reviews.
“We are pleased that the State Legislatures in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan will be convening hearings to examine the November 3rd presidential election,” said the statement from Ellis.
Republican state lawmakers Bret Roberts, Nancy Barto, Mark Finchem, David Cook, Kelly Townsend, David Gowan, Sylvia Allen, and Sonny Borrelli were in attendance. Republican congressmen Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs were also there.
Their requests to hold a formal hearing at the Capitol were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president. The legislature’s calendar was blank for the day.
It was the same day state officials certified the election results that gave Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes to Biden just a few miles away.
Ducey, who took part in Monday’s election certification, did not respond to a request for comment, but he acknowledged Tuesday that Biden had won Arizona and voiced his support of the state’s election system before signing the documents cementing Trump’s defeat.
“We do elections well here in Arizona,” Ducey said. “The system is strong.”
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward said she was filing a petition in superior court in advance of a lawsuit that she said would challenge Monday’s statewide canvass of election results. In particular, she said, election observers were kept too far away to verify certain ballots.
Rios called Ward’s efforts “borderline crazy.”
Trump Calls Out Ducey
During Tuesday’s certification, Ducey’s phone buzzed with the ringtone “Hail to the Chief.” Ducey previously said the song played when he received a call from the White House. He could be seen silencing the incoming call before returning to signing the documents.
Later in the day, Trump called into the hearing, saying that “Arizona will not forget what Ducey just did.”
The crowd booed as Trump said Ducey’s name. Trump claimed that Ducey signed the certification documents to get Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly into the senate as soon as possible.
“What’s that all about? He didn’t have to sign it. Why would you sign it when you have these incredible hearings going on and such corruption,” Trump said.
He made similar claims on Twitter.
Shortly after, Ducey defended Arizona’s elections in a series of tweets.
“I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office. And for good reason,” he said.
They are the latest in a string of attempts by the GOP to challenge election results in battleground states that Trump lost to Biden, to whom he has refused to concede.
Just days after the election, the campaign and state and national Republican parties filed a lawsuit claiming that ballot tabulation machines erroneously rejected some ballots. That was followed days later by an Arizona Republican Party suit that said the way Maricopa County officials audited election results was in technical violation of state law.
A third lawsuit by individual voters argued they could not be certain their ballots had been talled. All three suits were quickly dismissed with prejudice by judges.
The Pennsylvania hearing did happen Wednesday, according to news reports that said Republican lawmakers who heard from voters who had claimed seeing election fraud. Ellis said the hearings would show “witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities” during the election.
Despite the president’s insistence, however, it has not been able to provide evidence of voting irregularities in what the Department of Homeland Security’s own cybersecurity agency deemed “the most secure in American history.”
Rios believes the Trump campaign is continuing its efforts to assert claims of election fraud because it “wasn’t happy about acknowledging Biden as our next president.”
“So there really is no basis, other than to spread a conspiracy theory and to raise doubt and fear in our electorate for literally no legitimate reason,” she said of the latest claims.