Gov. Doug Ducey denounced on Monday the actions of a conservative group whose members he posed for a picture with over the weekend. The photo drew criticism from Democrats on social media.
“My agreeing to a photo with any group or individual should not be seen as an endorsement of anyone’s views or actions — because it’s not,” Ducey said in a statement released by his office.
“Before yesterday I had never heard of this group,” the statement read. “I absolutely denounce their behavior.”
Ducey took a photo with members of Patriot Movement AZ on Saturday at a Mohave County Republican Party dinner, a small but vocal activist group known for calling out hypocrisy of the Left at events in metro Phoenix.
So, if Gov. Ducey has never heard of the group, what behavior was he denouncing? Leaving out that information, left it open for definition by the media and progressive and radical groups to fill-in for themselves.
Members of this group have appeared as counter-protesters at the teachers’ strike, and the recent “die-in” at the Arizona Capitol. The group’s mission is to get people involved: “Stand up. Speak out. Be heard.”
Democratic Party operatives, progressives, and radicals have taken to social media to push the narrative: “gun-toting members of the Patriot Movement AZ back Trump, and oppose illegal immigration.”
In the photos with Ducey, group members made the hand sign for OK, which recently has been called a symbol of white supremacy, despite the fact that the Anti-Defamation League has said that this claim is a hoax. Media ignored the facts and forwarded the hoax by implying that members of the group were not innocently flashing the OK sign. Members of the group were unaware that any controversy – real or fake – surrounded the traditional hand gesture.
Just this weekend, Kanye West flashed the ok sign on Twitter with the words “we got love” beneath a picture of himself wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Hardly a message of hate or supremecy.
Radicals associated with the #redfored movement doxed members of the Patriot Movement, sharing their home addresses on social media platforms. The members have already begun receiving death threats as a result.
At the same time the members face the serious attacks against them, the governor’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato brushed off criticism over the photo, as “silly season of the election year.”
“What the patriots know for sure is it isn’t silliness having their families receive death threats from ideological extremists and Doug Ducey throws them under the bus for his own political purposes,” said one friend of the group. “The Patriot Movement represents Latinos, African-Americans, Native-Americans and everyone else who believes in the greatness of this country instead of the Resistance Movement. But this isn’t political.”