Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers has clarified his claim that he would vote for Donald Trump again in 2024, despite testifying to the Jan 6. committee that he was pressured by the former president’s administration to overturn his state’s election results.
“I want somebody who does respect the Constitution and won’t intimidate people as a rule of his psyche,” he told CNN on Friday. “I want something different in the character of the man, or the woman — give me one. I’m ready to have character in that office. It’s critical at this time in our history.”
Bowers was the star witness during Tuesday’s committee hearing, when he said that the Trump administration pressured him adopt the administration’s claims of 2020 election fraud in Arizona and appoint fake electors who would vote for Trump instead of adhering to the popular vote. Bowers claims he refused to do so, subjecting himself to harassment and ridicule from Trump supporters.
Despite his emotional testimony, Bowers told The Associated Press on Monday that he would still vote for Trump again in 2024. “If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said. “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the country. In my view it was great.”
During his interview with CNN, Bowers, said he had thought “a lot” about that interview in the past week, noting that he had been specifically asked if he would vote for Trump again should he and Biden be the nominees.
“And if you’re leaving me the choice to those two, just because of the implementation of the policy, I would have to go with the one who would implement the policy,” he said. “If you’re asking me if I want Donald Trump to be president again, the answer is no. I don’t. I want options.”
CNN host Michael Smerconish pressed Bowers on his answer, asking the Arizona Speaker of the House if he felt that it made sense to vote for someone who he claims had pressured him to violate the Constitution.
“I think, Michael, it does make sense,” he said, adding: “I would say that would be a hard — it’s like a Sophie’s choice. Can I have somebody else, please? Can we have a robust primary? Because I would really like to have somebody else who believes in the virtues and practices the virtues…but Michael, by nature I’m more conciliatory. I want a marriage rather than a divorce.”
While Bowers insisted he wasn’t giving “a blanket endorsement of Donald Trump,” he refused to outright walk back his earlier interview statements.
Smerconish gave him another opportunity to do so by asking: “What I haven’t heard you say is, under no circumstances will I vote for Donald Trump. Do you want to say that or do you not want to lock yourself in?”
“Do I want to say that? Do I want to? The answer is yes,” Bowers replied. “That’s what I want to say. But when I’m on — with my neighbors and friends and their challenges of their lives, many times the president doesn’t represent all the people or even most of the people. Sometimes he walks contrary to them. And I think this man does not have the character to lead the country again. And I have a district that’s a tough district. These kind of positions aren’t helping me.”
You can watch the full segment above.