In a letter sent out to Arizona GOP officeholders — including newly appointed U.S. Senator Martha McSally — the head of the state’s Republican Party warned them that they are not allowed to criticize President Donald Trump.
According to a report by E.J. Montini of the Arizona Republic, GOP Chairman Jonathan Lines fired off an email demanding allegiance to the embattled president while at the same time saying the party is a “big tent” that allows for differences of opinion.
The email reportedly makes reference to comments critical of Trump made by newly installed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT., who wrote, “I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
According to Arizona’s Lines, Romney was “very critical of our President, and Republicans rightly have criticized both his words, and the fact that he used the pages of the Washington Post, one of the most anti-Trump newspapers in the country, to deliver them.”
Lines followed that up with a warning from the top.
“One of the things I’ve always loved about our party is that we are a big tent. We have room for everyone. That’s why, as your Chairman, I’ve done my best to welcome as many different viewpoints and coalitions as possible into our party,” he wrote before adding a contradictory caveat. “However, while we are accepting of different viewpoints, it is essential that we stay true to our conservative values. And it is non-negotiable that we stand with our President.”
Lines added, he is “strongly supportive of President Donald J. Trump,” and plans to “deliver our state once again for President Trump” should the president run for re-election in 2020.
“Arizona GOP will be doing everything in its power to continue to stand up for President Trump and win in 2020!” he added.
The newly-selected McSally has already announced that she would attempt to work with her Democratic counterpart Senator Kyrsten Sinema, which may put her in conflict with Trump.