TEMPE, Ariz. -- The head of the Maricopa County Republican party said he didn't intend to disrespect Governor Jan Brewer when he likened her to the man who betrayed Jesus.
During a sometimes heated House hearing on Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan on Wednesday, A.J. LaFaro said her plan is just like Obamacare. He called the governor a traitor by saying "Jesus had Judas. Republicans have Governor Brewer."
We tried to ask the governor about the comment after a Thursday press conference in Tempe, where she announced that Union Bank is opening a new mortgage center that will employ 250 people. She clearly didn't want to talk about the comment.
When approached, the governor turned to an assistant and asked "Are we doing this? Huh? I didn't know we were doing this." She told her assistant that "it would have been nice to know ahead of time" that she would be expected to answer a question from a reporter.
Eventually, she did answer when asked about the comment.
"I was stunned," she said.
When we asked why she thought he made the comment, the governor replied, "You would have to ask him why he said that."
LaFaro was asked and gave a written statement to KTAR.
He made the original comment because he feels Brewer's Medicaid proposal is a terrible expansion of federal government control, and that he's passionately against it. He said he didn't mean to offend anyone or disrespect Brewer or the office of the governor.
Dear Mr. McClay,
The governor's Obamacare Medicaid Expansion proposal is a terrible expansion of federal government control over our lives. Less government in our lives is important to ALL citizens throughout our state, across America, and personally to me. To quote Ronald Reagan, "One of the traditional methods of imposing socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project."
Because of the proposed Medicaid Expansion, Common Core Implementation etc., I have spent countless hours over the last two weeks considering our Constitution, our Founders, our Republican Party, and the more than two centuries of constant battles fought on behalf of freedom. Governor Brewer escalated the rhetoric when she said "I don't want dead people in the streets." Yesterday, I reacted with sincere and passionate opposition to the Governor's Obamacare Medicaid Expansion proposal. My intentions were not to offend anyone, but to clearly sound a warning about the consequences of approving this future unsustainable burden on taxpayers.
I am a conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater, who said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Rhetoric can sometimes become overheated, but it was not my intention to disrespect Jan Brewer or the Office of the Governor of Arizona. My responsibility is to remain faithful to my Oath of Office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I hope Arizonans can find true conservative common ground to solve the problems facing our citizens. The parameters of this proposal will not enable that conclusion.
A. J. LaFaro Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
When told of Lafaro's response, Brewer said she hadn't heard from him directly.
"I haven't heard anything from him," the governor said. "I'm certainly not going to accept his apology from you."