Arizona Senate cannot leave Wendy Rogers' fate to voters. Investigate and expel her

·3 min read
Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, appears to have crossed a bright red line into misconduct. The Senate must defend itself and the institution from that kind of behavior.
Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, appears to have crossed a bright red line into misconduct. The Senate must defend itself and the institution from that kind of behavior.

It’s an unseemly duty for the Arizona Senate to investigate Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, with the possible consequence of expelling her from office.

Such tasks should be approached with great deference to voters who chose her as their representative. We are nearing state elections that would make it the easiest of things to leave it to their verdict in the fall.

But Rogers is accused of disgracing the Senate and the state of Arizona with behavior that appears to have crossed a bright red line into misconduct.

Only hours after a white gunman fired upon mostly Black shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo N.Y., killing 10 and wounding three, Rogers posted on the social media site Telegram, “Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo.”

Rogers implied the feds killed those people

The message seemed pretty clear: Rogers was accusing the federal government of running a false flag operation in Buffalo. Whether she meant it or not, her words implied that federal law officers had either falsely staged the event or killed those people in the grocery store.

Normally, you would give benefit of the doubt to a state leader who could have stumbled on her words. But Rogers has a history of mouthing conspiracy theories coiled tight with unalloyed bigotry.

In March, a large majority of her colleagues from both parties voted to censure her following her appearance at a white nationalist conference in Florida helmed by known Holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes. There she railed against those who would sell out America.

“If we try some of these high-level criminals, convict them, and use a newly built set of gallows, it’ll make an example for these traitors who have betrayed our country,” Rogers said. “They have yet to be justly punished for the crimes they have committed.”

She has previously made anti-Semitic posts

Later on social media, she attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose country was then under Russian invasion, calling him a “globalist puppet” for George Soros, the philanthropist and businessman. Both Zelenskyy and Soros are Jewish.

More silence: Ducey again avoids condemning Rogers after Buffalo post

“I stand with the Christians worldwide not the global bankers who are shoving godlessness and degeneracy in our face,” Rogers posted on Twitter. That remark is a common anti-Semitic trope, and if there were any doubt that’s how Rogers swings she also shared a picture on social media of herself next to a dead rhino branded with a Star of David.

The Senate is right to investigate Rogers, to give her due process. But if the facts hold up, and in this case they are simple and highly compelling, then she is unfit for office and to represent her district and the state of Arizona.

Senate must act on this despicable conduct

Those were real people who were gunned down in Buffalo, our fellow countrymen and women who left behind loved ones stricken with grief. To exploit their tragedy to push her crude conspiracies is so bereft of decency it can’t be tolerated.

The Arizona Senate needs to defend itself, to defend the institution from Rogers’ fevered mind. Her words echo the ravings of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who tortured the grieving parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School by claiming that shooting was a false flag – that it never happened. Those parents sued Jones for defamation.

If Rogers cannot credibly defend her conduct, the Senate has to act and will need a super-majority. This can’t be left to voters. The state of Arizona through its elected representatives needs to say no to the vile conduct in its midst.

If the Arizona Senate is to enjoy any future respect, it has to stop Wendy Rogers right now. It has to prove to all Americans and especially our Jewish and African American brothers and sisters that Arizona will not give ground to such poisoned ideas.

This is an opinion of The Arizona Republic’s editorial board. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor to weigh in.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Wendy Rogers crossed a red line. The Senate should expel her