Arizona Republican Party calls on supporters to give their lives to fight Trump's election loss

The calls for martyrdom came on Pearl Harbor Day, when Japanese pilots bombed a U.S. naval base

Published December 8, 2020 2:14PM (EST)

Armed protesters on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
Armed protesters on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the Japanese bomber pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor as on kamikaze missions.

The Arizona Republican Party urged supporters in a pair of late-night tweets on Monday to potentially sacrifice their lives on behalf of outgoing President Donald Trump's muddled crusade to rewrite his election loss.

The official Twitter account of the Arizona GOP posted two tweets drumming up the case for martyrdom in the waning hours of Pearl Harbor Day, meant to commemorate the date when Japanese pilots bombed a U.S. naval base 79 years ago, pulling America into World War II.

In a since-deleted post, the official state party account shared a clip from the Sylvester Stallone action movie "Rambo," captioned with the quote: "This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something."

In another post, the party commented on a tweet from Ali Alexander, an itinerant right-wing provocateur and one of the lead organizers for the Trump-supporting group called "Stop the Steal." Alexander, formerly known as Ali Akbar, has a shady political history even by the loose standards of MAGA-world. He tweeted that he was "willing to give my life for this fight," and Arizona Republicans upped the ante, asking: "He is. Are you?" 

The latest antics of the Arizona Republican Party come as the state's Republican governor Doug Ducey refuses to yield to pressure from fringe groups to stay loyal to the president. There is no evidence of voter fraud in the presidential election, according to election officials in every state. President-elect Joe Biden won the contest with a record-setting 81 million popular votes — a margin of victory of more than seven million votes over Trump.

Yet the Arizona GOP, under the oversight of Chairwoman Kelli Ward, continues to demand that Ducey not certify the results of what the party called a "false election." Ward, who has previously drawn backlash for organizing political stunts predicated on baseless conspiracy theories, continues to challenge the results in court, even as efforts from Trump's own legal team and his allies have failed. Arizona voters handed Trump a defeat. The state counted its votes multiple times, and Ducey certified them twice, most recently last week, when a video of the event showed him ignoring in real-time what appeared to be a phone call from Trump himself.

Last week, Republicans in the Arizona state legislature heard arguments from former LifeLock spokesperson and lead attorney in Trump's legal fight against inevitable loss Rudy Giuliani. The legislature, however, shut down this week after Giuliani, who appeared maskless in a number of photographs from the hearing, checked into Georgetown University Hospital with COVID-19.

The latest GOP demands coincide with the Dec. 8 "safe harbor" deadline, the date by which states must submit the names of their presidential electors to Congress. The Trump campaign had signaled ahead of the election that it was eyeing the deadline as a pressure point to convince state legislatures to override their voters in event of a loss.

Joining the Arizona GOP's bizarre calls on Pearl Harbor Day was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, currently the target of an FBI bribery investigation, who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block electors from key battleground states from casting "unlawful and constitutionally tainted votes." Paxton's 154-page filing sues Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania for what he claims were illegal procedural changes made in consideration of the coronavirus pandemic.

Legal experts have dismissed the longshot lawsuit, with some raising questions about whether Paxton is angling for a pardon from the outgoing president.

Paxton's counterpart in Arizona, however, who has felt pressure from far-right protest groups since the night of the election, has endorsed the governor's decision and said he has seen no evidence of voter fraud.

By Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger was a staff writer at Salon (2020-21). Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2020 Election Arizona Donald Trump Doug Ducey Gop Gop Civil War Kelli Ward Ken Paxton Republicans