Last Friday, Arizona Republican Party Chairman Kelli Ward was on the Garrett Lewis radio program in what quickly became a widely circulated meltdown. During that interview she referred to Governor Doug Ducey’s tyrannical rule on multiple occasions, claimed that his actions regarding the band of the use of hydroxychloroquine killed people, then shifted her focus to target Republican legislators who are calling for transparency and audits in the AZ GOP elections.
On Monday afternoon, Ward responded to the outrage among party activists by sending out a lengthy email through the AZ GOP communication system that claimed that the interview was an ambush set up by Lewis, who she described as having “an ulterior motive in mind and aggressively put forth his anti-Republican agenda from the start while attempting to goad me into making divisive statements.” Ward also accused Lewis of repeatedly interrupting her and finishing her sentences to “spin my comments further.”
Ward then claimed that “I have never called Governor Doug Ducey a killer or a tyrant.” and that she never called for the targeting of any Republican state legislators.
Ward’s attempt at damage control appears to be failing, largely because most of the people she was emailing appear to have already heard the interview with their own ears. The reaction on social media was swift, as one Republican activist posted audio recordings that showed Ward was lying in her email.
I got my @kelliwardaz “I never said Governor Ducey killed anyone” email this afternoon…
1) Can you imagine any other GOP Chairman having to try such a clarification?
2) Yes Kelli, you did. On the radio, twice! pic.twitter.com/WYfJQ0mQqB
— Trey Terry (@treyterry) April 13, 2021
So Kelli Ward is claiming that the GOP legislators who signed the call letter for transparent, auditable AZGOP elections did so because they didn't want to have to hold Ducey accountable for stuff? What a lie. Some of those signers are the legislators working the hardest on that! https://t.co/SDByeWsAog
— Constantin Querard (@CQuerard) April 13, 2021
The audio clips were receiving hundreds of views and this two-day story appears to be taking on a life entirely of its own.
Just yesterday, Representative Mark Finchem wrote to members of the AZGOP Executive Committee to correct the record and respond to Ward’s attacks on him and more than a dozen Republican legislators.
Calling Ward’s accusations “despicable,” Finchem pointed out what he wrote was driving efforts to enforce the party’s bylaws and conduct a fresh, clean election.
“We cannot survive as a party if we call for full transparency in a public election, but don’t first recognize the necessity for it within our own party leadership elections. To vilify those who support such transparency that is demonstrative of integrity without compromise is exactly what the radical left does to us, not what we expect from our own party leaders.”