Top Senate Republican says Wendy Rogers could be censured for speaking to white nationalists

Republican State Senator Wendy Rogers speaking January 15, 2022 at a rally for former President Donald Trump in Florence. Photo of Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Discussions are underway in the Arizona Senate about the possibility of censoring Senator Wendy Rogers for her recent inflammatory comments and speech at a white nationalist conference this weekend, according to the second house Republican.

“We talk about this. We discuss it. I think it’s best to consolidate what we’re going to do before we start talking to the media about what we’re going to do,” Senate Majority Leader Senator Rick Gray told reporters on Monday.

Rogers blasted the idea Monday night, write on social media that she “will not apologize for being white. Hit me as much as you want.

She continued“I will personally destroy the career of any Republican who participates in gaslighting simply because of the color of my skin or my opinion of a war I don’t want to send our children to die in.”

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The America First Political Action Conference, as the event is known, is an annual white nationalist rally. In a speech at the conference On Friday in Orlando, Rogers, a Republican from Flagstaff, called for the construction of a gallows to hang “high profile criminals” and “traitors who have betrayed our country.”

Wendy Rogers said white nationalists are ‘patriots’ and called for political enemies to be hanged

Rogers also praised event organizer Nick Fuentes, a known Holocaust denier who has made racist and anti-Semitic remarks. In a speech at the conference, Fuentes said people compare Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, “like that’s not a good thing.” Fuentes is a leader of the “groyper” movement which seeks to push the Republican Party further toward white nationalism. Rogers on Friday called him “America’s most persecuted man.”

Gray, a Sun City Republican, said he had “serious concerns” about clips he saw of Rogers’ comments to AFPAC, as the event is known. His commentary on building gallows was “disappointing”, he said.

“I can say that I do not reflect his point of view. It’s not where I stand,” Gray said.

Rogers also raised eyebrows over the weekend with inflammatory social media posts about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some of which included entrenched anti-Semitic tropes. She said Ukrainian President Volodimyr Zelensky, who has become the global face of resistance to Putin’s invasion, “is a globalist puppet” for George Soros and the Clintons. She added that he, French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “all report to the same satanic masters”.

“I stand with Christians everywhere, not with the world bankers who are shoving ungodliness and degeneracy in our faces,” Rogers wrote on Twitter.

“Globalist” is a common code word used by anti-Semites to denigrate Jews. Soros and Zelensky are Jews.

They are disgusting. They have no place in politics, in civil society. They are ridiculous.

– Senator Paul Boyer, R-Glendale

Senate Speaker Karen Fann was more restrained in her response. She noted that she and other Senate Republican leaders issued a statement strongly supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, but would not comment on Rogers’ other statements or his participation in AFPAC.

“We have a First Amendment right and anyone is allowed to say what they want. That doesn’t mean that we, as an organ of the Senate, agree with that,” said Fann, a Republican from Prescott.

Fann noted that some members of the Senate “are having conversations about the rest of the statements that have been made.” She wouldn’t comment on Gray’s claim that possible censorship might be in the works, saying only, “We’re not even there yet.” She said the Senate would issue additional statements and take action “as needed.”

She added that some senators were still unaware or unaware of Rogers’ recent statements.

“There are a lot of people who don’t follow Twitter and don’t follow the other stuff. I can tell you that I have members who are not even aware of the things that were said over the weekend. That’s why I said we needed some time for people to catch up on everything that’s happened so they can make their decisions on how best to handle it,” said Fann.

Some Republican senators, such as Sonny Borrelli and David Livingston, said they were unaware of Rogers’ statements and declined to comment. Republican Senators Sine Kerr and Tyler Pace also declined to comment.

Others have been forceful in their denunciation of Rogers. Senator Paul Boyer, a Republican from Glendale who has found himself at odds with much of his party over his refusal to embrace false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, of which Rogers is a strong supporter, or the so-called “audit” that Fann commissioned of the election in Maricopa County, was the loudest voice among Senate Republicans.

“They are disgusting. They have no place in politics, in civil society. They are ridiculous,” Boyer said.

Boyer said Rogers’ comments were “specifically” anti-Semitic. When asked if he thought Rogers was a white nationalist, Boyer said she associated with white nationalists, spoke their language and appealed to them. He wondered if a censure would have an effect, but said other Republicans should speak out against her and expressed hope that voters would remove her from office this year. He also took issue with her invoking Christ and the gospels in her speech.

Boyer also said he disagreed with Governor Doug Ducey’s claim that Rogers is still better than the Democrat she defeated to win office in 2020. Ducey’s political action committee spent about $500,000 to help him defeat Democrat Felicia French. Boyer said he would prefer a Democrat, even if it would rob Senate Republicans of their 16th deciding vote.

Ducey: GOP senator with white nationalist ties is ‘even better than a’ Democrat

“I think we would still have to make some compelling arguments about the merits of any given policy,” Boyer said. “That kind of…rhetoric is beyond pale.”

Senator TJ Shope, R-Coolidge, has also been highly critical of Rogers’ rhetoric and his participation in AFPAC. In one Tweeter On Monday, Shope called Rogers’ comments about Ukraine “bullshit.”

“It’s completely, completely weird. I don’t even know where it comes from. Talk about something that just doesn’t seem rational at all, as far as thinking goes. Nothing positive to say, that’s for sure,” he told reporters on Monday.

Shope wouldn’t go so far as to say he’d rather have a Democrat than Rogers, but said: ‘I’d rather have someone in that seat without having to explain to me on a daily basis. ”

Shope would not comment on how he would vote on a hypothetical no-confidence motion against Rogers. He noted that he was the chairman of the House Ethics Committee and had “tremendous respect” for the process. He said he would have to consider all the information presented to him and that he didn’t want to “get out of his way”.

Rogers, who boasted in her AFPAC speech that she was not running away from criticismwould not speak to reporters on the Senate floor on Monday.

I would prefer someone to occupy this seat without having to explain myself to me on a daily basis.

– Senator TJ Shope, R-Coolidge

Arizona Republicans were largely silent on Rogers Monday. But GOP members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who are ridiculed by Rogers’ wing of the party for false election conspiracy theories and debunked “audit” claims, have been highly critical.

Bill Gates, the chairman of the board, and Clint Hickman, its vice chairman, released a joint statement on Monday slamming Rogers for defending Putin, saying “anyone who doesn’t support his conspiracy theories is a puppet of Soros, a traitor or a communist”. ” – Rogers directed similar criticism at the Arizona Mirror — and for adopting “anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic rhetoric.”

“The United States of America has always been a beacon of hope for those who believe in self-determination and self-government. At this critical time, we need the world to see that we are not just preaching American values ​​to others, but living them ourselves,” Gates and Hickman said. “Wendy Rogers does not represent American values ​​or interests. I hope other business, community and political leaders will publicly condemn his hateful, dangerous, paranoid and un-American rhetoric.

Republican Supervisor Tom Galvin tweeted that Rogers is “spreading anti-Semitic tropes to defend Putin” and wrote“AFPAC morons are not conservatives and I’m all for canceling white supremacists, Nazi sympathizers and Putin suckers.”

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry also condemned Rogers for his statements.

“We hope it goes without saying that the House vehemently condemns the anti-Semitic views held by AFPAC and its supporters. Elected officials who spread this kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric will have to answer to voters,” House spokeswoman Annie Vogt said in a statement provided to the shimmer.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce helped fund Ducey’s campaign to boost Rogers in 2020. The chamber and a PAC it controls donated $140,000 to the governor’s PAC, which spent nearly $3.4 million dollars to elect Republican legislators.

Nationally, several prominent Republicans have targeted two GOP members of Congress who spoke at AFPAC, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Asked about Gosar and Greene, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “There is no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism.” His House counterpart, Californian Kevin McCarthy, said it was “appalling and wrong” for Gosar and Greene to appear at AFPAC, and said he would talk to them.

US Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called them “cretins.” And Wyoming GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney criticized members of his own party for not speaking against them, saying “the silence of Republican Party leaders is deafening and empowering.” Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois said Gosar and Greene should be kicked out of the GOP.

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