Trump attacks Republican who has criticized Arizona audit

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE attacked Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer (R) in his latest broadside against Republicans in the state who are pushing against a partisan election audit.

Trump labeled Boyer, who told The Hill in May he was “embarrassed” by the audit after supporting the process, a “RINO,” or Republican In Name Only, and touted his primary challenger.

“Boyer has been nothing but trouble, and nobody knows why. All we demand is Voter Integrity! He is being primaried by a strong and highly respected challenger, former Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern,” Trump said in a statement.

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Boyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill but fired back in a tweet, mocking his election fraud claims and accusing him of fueling the Jan. 6 insurrection.

"Had Trump built the wall like he promised, perhaps he could’ve prevented the 40k #BambooBallots from being imported into Arizona. And if he hadn’t started an insurrection in D.C. and gotten kicked off here, I could’ve responded directly to him. So there’s that," he tweeted.

Republicans in the Arizona state Senate launched the audit after Trump raised unsubstantiated allegations that fraud and irregularities led him to lose the state.

No evidence has emerged to suggest widespread misconduct marred the November presidential election. Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes in 2020, marking the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has won Arizona since 1996. 

The audit is focused on Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county and the home of Phoenix. Biden won it by more than 2 percentage points in November.

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Trump’s latest invective underscores his animosity toward Republicans who have opposed his election fraud claims.

Boyer has railed against the audit for months, telling The New York Times in May that “It makes us look like idiots.”

“Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point,” he said.

While Boyer is correct in pointing out the lack of evidence to support Trump’s claims, his criticism could come with a cost. While the former president did not outright endorse his primary opponent, Trump already has backed several challengers to sitting Republicans who have crossed him.