Arizona’s Republican-controlled Senate will investigate GOP state Sen. Wendy Rogers over a social media post that seemingly suggested the gunman in Saturday’s deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, was a federal agent.
The state Senate voted 24-3 on Monday for an investigation by its ethics committee to examine the extremist lawmaker’s comments “as inappropriate of an elected official with this body,” AZ Central reported.
On Saturday, hours after a white gunman opened fire on a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood, killing 10 people and wounding 13 in what authorities said was a racially motivated attack, Rogers posted on Telegram that “Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” apparently referencing the conspiracy theory in some far-right circles that mass shootings are “false flag” operations carried out by government agents in an effort to justify taking away gun rights.
The Donald Trump-endorsed lawmaker has established a profile among the nation’s far right during her first term with her embrace of inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories and white nationalism. She attracted censure and condemnation from the Arizona Senate in March after she suggested hanging political enemies in a speech at a conference organized by a prominent white nationalist and Holocaust denier.
Republican state Sen. Rick Gray made the motion to investigate Rogers’ remark. It was supported by 11 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Three Republicans, including Rogers, voted against the inquiry.
A Democratic-led effort to expel her from the state Senate failed in an 11-15 vote.
“A motion to expel would be arbitrary and would violate due process,” Gray said, according to AZ Central. “We get to investigate — we get to evaluate it.”
Rogers issued a statement accusing Democrats of turning her post into a “political tool” and pushing an “erroneous message” to foment division in her party.
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) May 17, 2022
“Sadly, my comment was taken completely out of context and became a false narrative that’s now the focal point of a firestorm created by certain race-obsessed members of the media,” she wrote.
She did not explain what context she was referring to or how the message was erroneous.
“Let me be very clear: I do not condone violent crime or racism,” the statement continued. “My heart breaks for those who lost their lives as well as for their families in this weekend’s shooting in Buffalo.”
“The person responsible for this heinous crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
She said she believed she would be vindicated once the facts were analyzed.
Online writings purportedly written by Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old accused of being the gunman in Buffalo, heavily referenced white supremacist ideologies that white people are being “replaced” by immigrants and people of color. Rogers herself has embraced this belief.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.