Katie Hobbs barred reporters from being in attendance to cover her inauguration as governor of Arizona on Monday.
The Democrat’s team allowed only a single photographer from the Associated Press into the room at the state Capitol while directing others to instead watch the event via live steam, according to local reporter Stacey Barchenger. Media did set up outside of the event.
“Arizona’s 24th governor, Katie Hobbs, assumed power at 10 a.m. on Monday and in her first official act, she decided to take the public’s business private. Not a great start,” tweeted Laurie Roberts, a columnist for The Arizona Republic.
New year, new leadership in Arizona, new stakeouts because reporters aren’t allowed into the 10 a.m. swearing in of incoming Gov. @katiehobbs. Here’s @Adrian_Fontes arriving for the joint swearing in. pic.twitter.com/ArWf8aWWfE
— Stacey Barchenger (@sbarchenger) January 2, 2023
As Roberts pointed out in a column, the restricted access deprived reporters the ability to ask questions of officials who are now leading the state. Others who took office on Monday included Democrats Adrian Fontes as secretary of state and Kris Mayes as attorney general.
Roberts also noted Monday was a state holiday and Hobbs will participate in a ceremonial inauguration Thursday. Still, she added, Hobbs “decided to take the public’s business private” in her first official act, part of a celebratory affair funded by secret donors.
A viral clip showed Hobbs laughed while taking the oath of office, which prompted a rebuke from the camp of Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, who like other GOP candidates running for statewide office in Arizona has gone to the courts to challenge her 2022 election loss.
“This is one of the darkest moments in the history of Arizona. An illegitimate ‘Governor’ laughing in the face of our constitution. But it’s always darkest before the dawn. We will expose this fraud for the world to see. Justice is coming. [Hobbs] won’t be laughing then,” tweeted the Kari Lake War Room.
Timothy Sandefur, vice president for legal affairs at the Goldwater Institute, came to Hobbs’ defense, saying the full video shows Hobbs “was feeling emotional & made a little joke to her mother (holding the Bible) about how they were both getting choked up.”