Trump-supporting GOP candidate calls official who testified at Jan 6 hearings a ‘traitor’

·3-min read

A Republican Arizona Congressional candidate called the state's House speaker a "traitor" for testifying during the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot.

Josh Barnett, a Republican running for the state's 1st district, tweeted a screenshot of Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers — a Republican — alongside a message calling him a traitor.

"This is what a traitor to Arizona and our Nation looks like," he wrote.

Mr Barnett is a far-right conservative with endorsements from other MAGA world names like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, and someone called "MAGA Hulk."

Mr Bowers testified before the House Select Committee on Tuesday, and called former President Donald Trump's attempts to illegally overturn the election results as an unwise and "juvenile" fight that undermined the foundations of American democracy.

He told the panel that Mr Trump and his then-attorney, Rudy Giuliani, called him shortly after the 2020 election and asked him to replace Arizona's Biden electors with electors loyal to Mr Trump.

Mr Bowers refused to do so, calling the scheme "illegal."

“I just think it is horrendous. It’s terrible,” Mr Bowers said. “The result of throwing the pebble in the pond, the reverberations across the pond, have, I think, been very destructive.”

Republican candidate for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District Josh Barnett (screengrab)
Republican candidate for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District Josh Barnett (screengrab)

He said that while he had not been watching the hearings, he had seen some of the footage they presented from the Capitol riot. Mr Bowers said it sickened him.

“I’m appalled at what I saw,” he said, “I don’t mind their having these hearings. I don’t mind. I think it illuminates something we need to see big time, and take stock of ourselves. And I hope it would sober us.”

Mr Barnett, like many MAGA conservatives, took exception to a Republican refusing to stand with Mr Trump's lies that the 2020 election had been stolen.

"What's counter to your oath, @speakerbowers, according to Art 7, Sec 7 is certifying an election where rules, form, procedure and statues were broken and illegal votes were counted," Mr Bowers said, without providing evidence for his claims.

He went on to claim that Mr Bowers was "playing stupid" and claimed that "misadministration" should nullify the 2020 election, despite numerous Republican-led recounts and audits finding, time after time, that no widespread voter fraud occurred in 2020.

His platform includes finishing the border wall, enacting a 10-year moratorium on immigration, repealing the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act, eliminating "critical race theory" from schools, and ensuring that wealthy families can pull their children out of public schools and give their resources to privately run for-profit schools.

Mr Barnett previously ran for Arizona’s 7th Congressional district and lost in a landslide, earning only 23 per cent of the vote. Despite Mr Barnett’s allegiance to Mr Trump, the former president has endorsed his primary rival, frontrunner incumbent Representative David Schweikert.