Some Republican leaders find sorry is the hardest word - GulfToday

Some Republican leaders find sorry is the hardest word

Wendy Rogers

Wendy Rogers

Mark Z. Barabak, Tribune News Service

Wendy Rogers, who represents a rural slice of Arizona in the state Senate, is a bad piece of business. She not only peddles the fiction that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump, but suggests those who fail to believe that lie and other delusions should be hanged.

When she isn’t promoting screw-loose conspiracy theories, the Flagstaff Republican pals around with Holocaust deniers and cheers for Russia and its strongman, Vladimir Putin. A globalist puppet for (financier George) Soros and the Clintons” is how Rogers described Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a hero to much of the world — in a noxious tweet that managed to pair two favorite tropes of right-wingers and antisemites. But in the view of Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, there is something worse than spewing hate and undermining democracy: being a Democrat. Rogers was just another of those flaky perennial candidates — a loser in five elections in 10 years — until Ducey sank $500,000 into her 2020 bid for the state Senate. Her Democratic opponent, Felicia French, wasn’t some international drug trafficker or ax murderess, but rather a nurse and veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

The investment by the governor’s political action committee turned out to be a sound one, helping ensure Republicans maintained their majority in the state capital. “What I’ve wanted to do is move my agenda forward,” Ducey told reporters last week at an event promoting youth scholarships. “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Asked about Rogers’ execrable behavior, the governor replied — twice — “She’s still better than her opponent.” Rogers shared his sentiments in a tweet with a heart emoji. Be that as it may, on Tuesday the Arizona Senate voted 24 to 3 to censure Rogers, with 11 Republicans joining 13 Democrats in support of the resolution. Afterward, Ducey applauded the move, saying “antisemitic and hateful language has no place in Arizona.”

He expressed no second thoughts about helping elect Rogers in the first place. Politics has always been about finding the means to an end, and winning at all costs is hardly a new concept. But there is something particularly unworthy and low about Republican leaders refusing to readily condemn and ostracize the haters, extremists and nut cases in their midst.

(Hold those emails and letters about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and other left-wing members of “the Squad.” You can criticise their views, but none has advocated capital punishment for their political foes, or voted to overturn the will of voters in a free and fair election.)

With the notable exceptions of Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney and Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — all of whom have experienced blowback from fellow Republicans — most of the intraparty condemnation of the GOP’s Aryan-salute wing has been terse and grudging.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy waited days before castigating Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona — who once sought to create a whites-only congressional caucus — for speaking to a white supremacist gathering last weekend in Florida. (It was there that Rogers proposed a “newly built set of gallows” to dispatch political opponents.)

Tracked down by Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman, McCarthy said participation in the hate rally was “appalling and wrong.”

“There’s no place in our party for any of this,” the California Republican said, though a day later, with TV cameras rolling, he declined to repeat his criticism. “I understand your job, understand what you’re trying to do,” he told reporters. “I’ve already commented on that.”

Take that, bigots and antisemites.

Others in the House leadership served up similarly weak tea, among them Indiana’s Rep. Jim Banks, head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, who tut-tutted that it was “unbecoming” for a member of Congress to show up in such a scabrous setting, as though Greene and Gosar had dressed in white ahead of Memorial Day.

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