Earlier this month, Jon Stewart went unexpectedly viral, racking up more than 14 million views on Twitter for a segment from the Season 2 premiere his Apple TV+ series The Problem with Jon Stewart in which he relentlessly challenged Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge about her state’s anti-trans law. Now it looks like he may have done it again.
For a new episode streaming this Friday that focuses on the midterm elections, Stewart sat down with another Republican attorney general, this time Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, to confront him about his efforts to appease the conservatives in his state who still believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
In the exclusive clip below, Brnovich justifies his actions by citing the “millions of people” in Arizona and across the country who “think” the election was fraudulently decided. “There’s people that believe in angels, but that doesn’t mean you launch an investigation that angels changed ballots,” Stewart shoots back.
Repeatedly, Stewart tries to get Brnovich to admit that Trump is “wrong” and that Arizona’s election was “fair, not stolen, and not fraudulent,” but he refuses to do so, claiming that he’s still waiting for “all of the facts and evidence” to come in. He will admit that Trump “lost Arizona” in 2020, but not that his loss was fair and square.
“The fact is, the election in Arizona was well-run, not fraudulent, and not stolen from Donald Trump, according to even your investigation,” Stewart tells him at one point. When Brnovich hems and haws in response, the host interrupts him to ask, “Why is it so hard to just say yes to that?”
“Why can’t you say that the election in 2020 was not stolen or fraudulent?” Stewart asks again. Again, he doesn’t get a straight answer and adds, “This is blowing my mind.”
What makes Brnovich’s current refusal to anger Trump and his followers all the more bizarre is that he didn’t always have this conspiratorial attitude about the election he was overseeing. Days after the 2020 election, he stated publicly that he saw no evidence to suggest Joe Biden’s win in Arizona was suspicious, but he had a very different message when he kicked off a run for Senate early this year.
The damage was done by that point, however, and he lost out on Trump’s endorsement after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the former president’s lawyers for falsely suggesting he had his support. Ultimately, Trump threw his weight behind the even further right-wing candidate Blake Masters, who is currently in a tough race to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.