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The Arizona State Senate, in a bipartisan vote, censured a Republican lawmaker for calling for violence against her political opponents, saying state Senator Wendy Rogers “damaged the reputation of the Arizona State Senate by its actions”.
The move comes days after Rogers spoke at a conference hosted by a well-known white nationalist at which she called for the hanging of her political rivals. She later used anti-Semitic tropes to describe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose nation is overrun by Russian troops.
The event – the America First Political Action Conference – which was hosted by Nick Fuentes, an online troll and outspoken white nationalist, was also attended by US Representatives Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Both lawmakers drew attention to their past remarks; however, neither was officially reprimanded by the party leadership for their attendance at the event, despite both facing political isolation.
“There is no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, without naming any of the event attendees.
During the conference, speakers made racist remarks and applauded Russian President Vladimir Putin, comparing the Russian leader favorably to Adolf Hitler.
Rogers, in his remarks, praised Fuentes – an outspoken racist who said he didn’t believe women should have the right to vote – as “America’s most persecuted man”.
Thirteen Democrats and 11 Republicans in the 30-member chamber voted to censure Rogers. She engaged in “conduct unbecoming a senator, including posting and publicly promoting on social media and video messages encouraging violence and punishment of American citizens and making threatening statements declaring ‘political destruction’ “of those who do not agree with his views,” the motion of no confidence against Rogers said.
In a series of tweets Tuesday after the censorship, Rogers defended his appearance at the conference as an expression of his First Amendment right to free speech.
“I make no apologies, I will not back down, and I am deeply disappointed in the leadership of this body for colluding with Democrats in an attempt to destroy my reputation,” she wrote.
Separately, Greene, who has a long history of promoting racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, also took to Twitter to double down on her remarks.
Posted with a video clip of his remarks at the conference, Greene wrote: “I’m not going to play the guilt-by-association game where you demand that every conservative justify everything that’s been said by anyone he’s ever been with. shared a room.”
“I’m not going to get sucked into this. I’m only responsible for what I say,” she said, referring to speeches that included bigoted language and praise for Hitler as “a few remarks staggered”.