A Republican legislator in the Arizona Senate is facing possible censure for a speech she delivered to a white supremacist conference last week in which she attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and financier George Soros, both of whom are Jewish, as “globalist puppets” who “report to the same Satanic masters.”
Sen. Wendy Rogers delivered the remarks last Friday at the America First Political Action Conference, an event organized by a 23-year-old neo-Nazi named Nick Fuentes.
In his bid to be the US far-right’s star tough guy, the diminutive Fuentes has questioned the Nazi Holocaust on several occasions and mocked it on others, once comparing the slaughter of Jews in gas chambers to “cookies baking in an oven.”
Fuentes loudly hailed the Jan. 6, 2021 attempted insurrection on Capitol Hill by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump as “awesome.” He has also expressed support for racial segregation in the US, so as to preserve the country’s “white demographic core.”
Rogers warmly praised Fuentes during a speech in which she ranted for gallows to be built to hang “high-level criminals” and “traitors who have betrayed our country.”
She accused Zelensky — who has remained defiantly in Kyiv amid a heavy Russian artillery onslaught — of behaving as a “globalist puppet” on behalf of Soros, and said that the Ukrainian leader, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “all report to the same Satanic masters.”
Arizona Republicans were divided in their response to Rogers’ appearance alongside a neo-Nazi.
“We do have a First Amendment right and anybody is allowed to say anything they want,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann told the AZ Mirror news outlet. “That doesn’t mean that we, as a Senate body, agree with that.”
At least four other Republican senators — Sonny Borrelli, David Livingston, Sine Kerr and Tyler Pace — declined to comment on her words.
Sen. Paul Boyer, a fellow Republican, did offer vociferous condemnation of Rogers’ “antisemitic” comments.
“They’re disgusting. They have no place in politics, in civil society. They’re ridiculous,” Boyer said.
Boyer also criticized Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s remark that despite her white supremacist ties, Rogers was still preferable to a Democratic legislator. Defending the $500,000 spent to secure Rogers’ seat in the senate in 2020, Ducey said he was “proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Said Sen. Boyer: “I think that we’d still have to make persuasive arguments on the merits of any given policy. That kind of rhetoric is beyond the pale.”
The fury over Rogers’ appearance at a neo-Nazi event followed on the heels of another controversy over the same conference. Over the weekend, GOP Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) also spoke alongside Fuentes, causing consternation among party leaders.
Asked on Monday night if he planned to take action against the pair, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would “have a discussion” with them. He described Fuentes as “appalling” and said the “language that he uses about antisemitism and the chanting for [Vladimir] Putin is unacceptable.” When Fuentes addressed the conference over the weekend, several members of the crowd responded by chanting “Putin! Putin!” in favor of the Russian leader.
For her part, Rogers was unrepentant on Tuesday, tweeting: “I will not apologize for being white. Hit me all you want.”