Former President Trump is out of the White House, but that hasn't stopped the Arizona Republican Party from doubling down on its support for him—and censuring those it considers disloyal. At the end of a seven-hour meeting Saturday, party members voted by a wide margin to censure Gov, Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, the New York Times reports. All three attended the inauguration of President Biden, the first Democrat to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. They were censured for "failures" including Ducey's introduction of COVID restrictions, McCain's "support of leftist causes such as gay marriage," and Flake's supposed abandonment of "true Republican values." Flake and McCain both endorsed Biden for president.
After the November election, Arizona now has two Democratic senators for the first time in nearly 70 years, and some Republicans say Saturday's symbolic censures will only drive more people away from the GOP. "Parties that want to be successful bring people together and expand the number of people who are attracted to the party," Glenn Hamer, former executive director of the Arizona GOP, tells CNN. "What's going on with the leadership at the AZ GOP is the exact opposite. It's self-destructive." The party censured John McCain in 2014. "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," Cindy McCain tweeted. "I'll wear this as a badge of honor.” On Saturday, the party also re-elected chairperson Kelli Ward, a staunch Trump ally who strongly supported the former president's election fraud claims. (Read more Arizona stories.)