Arizona Republican Paul Boyer Says Donald Trump 'Started an Insurrection' Amid Election Spat

Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer has hit back at former President Donald Trump, with whom the Republican lawmaker is engaged in an online spat over the latter's continued false claims of electoral fraud and peddling of conspiracy theories.

Boyer is among the Arizona Republicans calling on the state GOP to end its election audit in Maricopa County, an investigation that Boyer and others say is increasingly reliant on debunked conspiracy theories.

Trump released a statement on Thursday dismissing Boyer as a "RINO"—a Republican In Name Only—and accusing the state senator of "doing everything in his power to hold up the damning Forensic Audit of Maricopa County which has been taking place over the last 90 days.

"The people of Arizona are demanding it. 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."

Boyer replied to the statement on Twitter, a platform from which Trump was banned in January after the U.S. Capitol riot.

"Had Trump built the wall like he promised, perhaps he could've prevented the 40k #BambooBallots from being imported into Arizona," Boyer wrote. "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."

The election audit is focused on Maricopa County where Trump and his allies say—without evidence—major fraud took place in the November presidential election. President Joe Biden won Maricopa County by 45,000 votes, or 2 percent of the electorate.

Maricopa County helped Biden become the first Democrat to carry the state since former President Bill Clinton in 1996. Biden took the state's 11 electoral votes with a margin of just over 10,000 votes.

Republican media figures and lawmakers have alleged a broad swath of fraud and cover-ups in Arizona, offering no evidence and often little detail to support their allegations.

The state's Republican Senate majority last week said that Maricopa County officials had deleted a directory of computer files. Trump repeated the accusation twice in statements sent out by his political action committee.

Earlier in July, Arizona officials said they had discovered 182 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million presidential ballots cast in Arizona.

One conspiracy theory claims that 40,000 fake ballots were flown in from Asia to swing the election in favor of Biden. Republicans have been looking for bamboo fibers in the alleged fake ballots.

This claim chimes with broader Republican efforts to tie Biden to China, and allegations that Beijing meddled in the election to help defeat Trump.

Boyer is among those calling on his GOP colleagues to shelve the audit, which is being overseen by the Florida-based Cyber Ninjas firm, led by a businessman who has promoted election fraud allegations.

Boyer told The Hill in May: "Who wouldn't support an audit? But the way they're doing it, it's embarrassing...It makes me embarrassed to be a state senator at this point."

"I feel like we're in this fantasy land," Boyer said. "I still have yet to see any evidence [of fraud], and I don't think it's coming."

Pro-Trump protesters outside Maricopa County ballot counting
Protestors in support of former President Donald Trump gather outside Veterans Memorial Coliseum where ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images