Fox News said Gov. Katie Hobbs disappeared. She didn't. This is where she was

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Leer en español

Fox News stirred up conspiracy theories online Thursday with a report about state Treasurer Kimberly Yee being named acting governor after what the conservative cable news network called the “mysterious disappearance of Gov. Katie Hobbs.”

The erroneous news report, later changed by Fox, followed a false rumor that went viral on social media earlier this week that Hobbs had been “indicted” by the state Senate on charges related to conspiring with a Mexican drug cartel.

The network didn't attempt to explain why it called Hobbs' temporary absence from the state a "disappearance" in its report, which was headlined "Arizona governor mysteriously steps down for one day." A message seeking comment from Fox News wasn't immediately returned.

Hobbs didn’t disappear. She was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for a meeting about border issues with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas following a weeklong visit to Taiwan, an important Arizona trade ally. She flew back to the state Thursday to meet with President Joe Biden, who arrived Wednesday night for a visit that promoted his campaign messages.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes was acting governor while Hobbs was out of state, but he left the state Wednesday for a pre-planned trip to Washington, D.C., where he’ll meet with congressional staff and members “about the need for federal funding for elections,” said Fontes’ spokesman, Paul Smith-Leonard.

State Attorney General Kris Mayes, next in the state’s line of succession, is also in Washington, D.C., for “meetings” and will return Friday morning, said her spokesman, Richie Taylor.

That meant Yee, the treasurer, was acting governor for less than 24 hours.

As the temporary top state officer, Yee sent out a cheeky press release that referenced an ongoing fight between Hobbs and Republican state Senate leaders over confirmations for state agency directors.

"While I am pleased to step into this role, I will refrain from naming directors to the 13 agencies that currently have vacancies and will not call the Arizona Legislature into session to confirm them," she wrote.

A spokesman for Hobbs later said it wasn't clear if Yee really had the power to do all that as acting governor.

State Republicans disavowed the widespread internet rumor of Hobbs’ “indictment” Monday, noting that the state Senate does not issue indictments.

Reach the reporter at or 480-276-3237. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter: @raystern.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Fox News said Gov. Katie Hobbs disappeared, where she actually was