PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A local civil rights leader called out high ranking Republicans Monday who were expected to speak at a rally supported by far-right groups and activists.
"When we see hate speech from anyone, we expect those in leadership to condemn it, to distance themselves from these individuals," said Roy Tatem, the President of the East Valley Chapter of the NAACP.
Tatem singled out Congressman Andy Biggs and Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.
Both were listed as speakers at the Patriotism Over Socialism event taking place in Gilbert tonight at 50 East Civic Center Drive from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Also speaking, right-wing activist, Laura Loomer, who was banned by Twitter for a series of anti-Muslim falsehoods about a current congresswoman.
In addition, extremist groups like the American Guard, and Patriot Movement AZ, have promoted the event on their Facebook pages.
"For the Southern Poverty Law Center to label it, that makes me proud to be at a place they call a hate group," said Shaun Hair, the executive director of The Western Journal who spoke on stage at the event. "I don't think that saying - because we don't agree with you, this guy standing over here shouldn't be here either. I think that's bad."
Ward was unavailable for comment. Biggs' office never returned AZ Family's calls for comment.
However, state Rep. Noel Campbell, a Republican from Prescott, defended their right to speak at the rally.
"I think our party leadership has every right to reach out and talk to concerned citizens so," Campbell said.
"The First Amendment protects speech and I'm not the person who's going to say - you can speak but you can't, because I don't like what you're saying," said Republican state representative Kelly Townsend.
The executive director of the Anti-Defamation League sent us the following statement:
“Essentially this is a right wing event that will most likely attract a variety of extremists, and their extremist viewpoints, to show up.”
—Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Regional Director, ADL Arizona