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Arizona state senator slammed for Buffalo shooting comments

The Senate voted to launch an ethics investigation into Sen. Wendy Rodgers after she tweeted controversial comments about the mass shooting in Buffalo.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:13 PM MST
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PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Senate has voted to open an ethics investigation into a firebrand Republican member who tweeted inflammatory comments about last weekend’s racist attack at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. But the Senate rejected a bid by minority Democrats to immediately expel Sen. Wendy Rogers for her tweet implying the federal government was behind the Buffalo attack that left 10 dead. GOP Majority Leader Rick Gray said due process considerations require an ethics probe. Democrats were furious, noting that Rogers was just censured in March for a series of tweets and statements that embraced white nationalism and called for violence. Rogers said nothing during two hours of discussion.

Rodgers posted a message on social media, reading, “Fed boy summer has begun in Buffalo.” Matt Browning, an expert on hate groups, said Rodgers’ tweet was regarding a dangerous conspiracy theory. “Basically, she’s saying ‘here we go again, they’re making up another thing. They’re going to take our guns, anything they can do to take our guns and, oh, we’re going to blame it on a white guy.’ That’s basically what all of that is,” said Browning.

Since the initial post, Rodgers has condemned the violence in a follow-up post and ended the tweet by saying, “Everything is not what it seems!” Her opponent in the upcoming Republican primary, Sen. Kelly Townsend, also spoke about Rodgers’ comments. “She’s become the face of this conspiracy theory racist antisemite, you know, and when they want to talk about these things, they point to her,” said Townsend.

Rodgers released a statement following the vote on Monday.

In a 24 to 3 vote today, the Arizona State Senate passed a motion to launch an ethics investigation regarding a comment I made on social media. That motion only came after Senate Democrat Leadership revealed minutes before floor proceedings were to begin, that they were going to vote to expel me from office. Their motion to expel would have come without any sort of investigation or due process.

Sadly, my comment was taken completely out of context and became a false narrative that’s now the focal point of a firestorm created by certain race-obsessed members of the media. Unfortunately, our Democrat members of the Senate are now turning this issue into a political tool and are continuing to perpetuate this erroneous message in an effort to foment division within our party.

Let me be very clear: I do not condone violent crime or racism. My heart breaks for those who lost their lives as well as for their families in this weekend’s shooting in Buffalo, New York. I pray justice is brought to theperpetrator. The person responsible for this heinous crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I denounce this tragic act as well as any and all other violent crimes that are spreading into communities across our country.

I’m grateful to our Republican Leadership Team for fighting to give me due process in this matter, and I am certain that once the facts have been analyzed, I will be vindicated.

Arizona’s Family news staff contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.