Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump, per AZCentral.
Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.
Driving the news: McCain, widow of Trump nemesis Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), endorsed Biden for president last September.
- Flake is a longtime Trump critic who joined the "Republicans for Biden" group and called on Republicans in a Washington Post op-ed last September not to back the then-president in the election.
- Ducey endured tirades from Trump after he didn't overturn Biden's win in the state, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.
- AZCentral reports the governor was censured over emergency measures in response to the pandemic, which the state GOP said "restrict personal liberties and force compliance to unconstitutional edicts."
Of note: All three of those censured attended Biden's inauguration last Wednesday.
What they're saying: Ward, who's filed unsuccessful lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, described herself as a "Trump Republican" who'll "always put America first, who believes in faith, family and freedom," AP reports.
- Ducey's political director Sara Mueller said in a statement the people behind the inconsequential resolutions "have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had."
- McCain tweeted after the vote, "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."
Good company pic.twitter.com/1pdgVGE5Ps— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) January 24, 2021
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.