PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican House speaker on Thursday was named one of five recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for his refusal to consider overturning the 2020 election results despite massive pressure from former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
Speaker Rusty Bowers rebuffed repeated direct efforts by Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and others to overturn results that saw President Joe Biden narrowly defeat Trump in Arizona. Trump and Giuliani urged Bowers in a phone call to retroactively change Arizona law to allow the Legislature to chose a different slate of presidential electors than those picked by the voters.
“I am very grateful for this honor yet cannot help but feel undeserving of it,” Bowers said in a statement. “Honoring my oath and the people’s choices at the ballot box are not heroic acts — they are the least that Arizonans should expect from the people elected to serve them.”
The award created by Kennedy’s family in 1989 is designed “to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most,” and is given each year to one or more political figures. This year’s award honors those who showed “courage to protect and defend democracy in the United States and abroad.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be honore d for his effort to rally his nation and the world against the Russian invasion. Besides Bowers, the other American honorees are Republican Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Fulton County, Georgia, elections department employee Wandrea “Shaye” Moss.
All but Zelenskyy were honored for standing up to pressure from Trump and his supporters who alleged without evidence that he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden because of election fraud. Benson and Moss were targets of vicious attacks for their work on the election.
The awards will be presented at a May 22 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.