PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Leaders from local faith-based advocacy groups slammed Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers for a social media post described as hate speech. "We can not allow such hate speech to be normalized here in Arizona," Paul Rockower, the executive director for the Jewish Relations Council of Greater Phoenix, said Wednesday.
Sen. Wendy Rogers wants state transportation officials to designate State Route 260 as the "Donald J. Trump Highway."
After linking to an article about immigration on Twitter, Rogers then posted, "We are being replaced and invaded." The language of that tweet bears a striking similarity to a racist conspiracy known as the "Great Replacement Theory." Rockowner said the theory is rooted in the idea that white people are being replaced by nonwhite immigrants and has inspired mass killings worldwide.
"It's not an overreaction when we've seen this line from that type of rhetoric to atrocities in Pittsburgh, New Zealand, El Paso. This type of language is dangerous. We're in a real powder keg situation and all it takes is the wrong signaling to the wrong person and we have another event on our hands," Rockower said, referring to places where mass shootings occurred.
Rogers is a freshman lawmaker from the Flagstaff area and has earned a reputation for posting controversial statements on social media while also ignoring the local press. So it was no surprise that she did not respond to my request for comment and a further explanation of her post.
In the past, Rogers has called out other politicians for making similar comments, and this year she voted for a Holocaust education bill that requires students to take two classes on the subject between the seventh and 12th grades.
The complaint, filed by her former legislative aide Michael Polloni, alleges she verbally abused him for not working while he had COVID-19.
Rockower and his organization were not the only one to denounce Rogers' tweet. Azza Abusei, with the Arizona chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, also said comments feed the rise of extremism. "It's concerning that rising tide being fueled irresponsible 'leaders' like Wendy Rogers who seek cheap political gain," she said in a text message.