- Robin Vos fired the ex-Wisconsin Supreme Court justice leading a probe of the 2020 election results.
- Vos narrowly won his GOP primary after ex-President Trump and Michael Gableman backed his opponent.
- Last week, Vos called Gableman “an embarrassment to the state” days before he ended his contract.
The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Assembly on Friday fired a former conservative state Supreme Court justice that he hired to oversee a taxpayer-funded probe of the 2020 presidential election — just days after winning a primary election against an opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Robin Vos, who has led the GOP-controlled chamber since 2013 and served as a key legislative ally to onetime Gov. Scott Walker, ended the investigation by terminating the contract of Michael Gableman. Vos hired Gableman in July 2021 amid pressure from Trump to relitigate his 2020 election loss to now-President Joe Biden in the closely-divided swing state.
But, Gableman endorsed Vos’ opponent, Adam Steen, earlier this month.
After Vos rejected repeated calls by Trump to overturn the 2020 results, the former president became disenchanted with the GOP leader.
And while Gableman publicly spoke of overturning the Wisconsin results, he told Vos in a private note earlier this year that decertification “is unprecedented and raises numerous substantial constitutional issues that would be difficult to resolve,” according to The Washington Post.
Trump took to his Truth Social platform to blast Vos, criticizing the Republican for his inaction on the 2020 probe following a recent decision by the conservative-leaning state Supreme Court to ban most ballot drop boxes in state elections. The former president has long insisted, without evidence, that mail-in voting is rife with fraud.
“Looks like Speaker Robin Vos, a long time professional RINO always looking to guard his flank, will be doing nothing about the amazing Wisconsin Supreme Court decision,” Trump wrote, using a derisive acronym that means “Republican In Name Only.”
However, Vos narrowly won the GOP primary by a 51%-49% margin, overcoming Trump’s late support of Steen.
When Vos brought on Gableman for the election probe, he said he was “supremely confident” in the former judge.
But after the polls closed last week, Vos called Gableman “an embarrassment to the state,” according to The Center Square.
“After having many members of our caucus reach out to me over the past several days, it is beyond clear to me that we only have one choice in this matter, and that’s to close the Office of Special Counsel,” he said in a statement to The Associated Press.
In a robocall in support of Steen, Gableman said that Vos “never wanted a real investigation,” according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
“Robin Vos never wanted a real investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin, and everything that my office and I have been able to do to expose all the corruption that took place has been in spite of Robin and not because of him,” he said in the recording.
The decision attracted bipartisan praise.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is running for reelection to a second term in November, had long blasted the premise of the probe.
Republican state Sen. Kathy Bernier, who leads the Senate elections panel, told The Associated Press that she has “zero respect, for Michael Gableman.”
“It was a good decision,” she said. “It would have been a better decision six months ago.”