Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers: Donald Trump ‘has no idea what courage is’
PHOENIX — Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers over the weekend responded to criticism from former President Donald Trump for his testimony before the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol.
Trump in a rally last month supporting Arizona candidates he endorsed for office called Bowers a “RINO coward,” adding the Republican disgraced himself and the state for detailing efforts of the former president’s allies to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state.
“Someone born how he was and raised how he was, he has no idea what a hard life is and what people have to go through in the real world,” Bowers told ABC News’ This Week. “He has no idea what courage is.”
Bowers in the interview said he would never vote for Trump if he were to run again and doesn’t trust him in a position of authority.
He described the hold Trump and allies have on Republicans in the state as ruling by thuggery.
“They rule by thuggery and intimidation, so they found a niche, they found a way and it’s fear,” Bowers said. “People can use fear, demagogues like to use fear as a weapon, and they weaponize everything and we all know it.
“That’s not leadership to me.”
Bowers said many have come up to thank him for delivering the testimony, but others called him a traitor and said the price of treason is hanging.
He is going up against Trump-endorsed David Farnsworth in Tuesday’s primary election for the state Senate seat from District 10.
Bowers in a separate interview with NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard said if he loses the primary, it would probably be because of the testimony he provided.
“Probably because I stood up,” Bowers told Hillyard. “When they asked me to tell the truth, I told the truth. I didn’t go looking for a fight.
“The fact that I would break ranks and somehow find what the former president did was unacceptable, that’s like I broke some sort of taboo and I did break a taboo. It’s kind of a cultic thing that you have to be in with the cult and here’s our doctrine and you can’t go beyond the doctrine and I say no.”
Bowers was recently censured by the Arizona Republican Party’s executive committee, but Chair Kelli Ward previously said that the unanimous action was for him going against the party’s platform and had nothing to do with the testimony.
In the interview with ABC News, Bowers asserted the former president’s control of the party may be waning.
“I think America’s tired,” Bowers said. “There’s some absolutely forceful, qualified, morally defensible and upright people and that’s what I want. That’s what I want for my party and that’s what I want to see.”