The press secretary for Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs resigned Wednesday, two days after posting a tweet that appeared to support gunning down “transphobes” in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Nashville Christian school.
“The Governor does not condone violence in any form,” Hobbs’ office said in an unsigned statement after Josselyn Berry stepped down. “This administration holds mutual respect at the forefront of how we engage with one another. The post by the Press Secretary is not reflective of the values of the administration. The Governor has received and accepted the resignation of the Press Secretary.”
Berry had posted an image of a woman brandishing firearms hours after Monday’s shooting at The Covenant School, which left three 9-year-old students and three staff members dead.
The shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale — who identified as transgender — was shot and killed by responding police officers.
Berry had tweeted Monday that if you “are transphobic, you’re not progressive,” prompting one Twitter user to respond, “Not sure these transphobic-from-the-left posers know who they’re messing with.”
“Us when we see transphobes,” Berry tweeted back with the gun-toting GIF from the 1980 movie “Gloria.”
Arizona Republicans were quick to denounce the tweet.
“I don’t think anyone, no matter your political leanings, would look at that tweet — any sane, professional person would look at that tweet and say, ‘This is how I want one of the top advisers to the governor of my state to conduct themselves,’” Daniel Scarpinato, a former chief of staff to ex-Arizona GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, told the Arizona Republic.
“Less than 12 hours after the tragic shooting in Nashville by a deranged transgender activist [Hobbs’] Press Secretary calls for shooting people Democrats disagree with,” the Arizona Freedom Caucus proclaimed on Twitter.
“Calling for violence like this is un-American & never acceptable. [Berry] should be fired immediately,” the Republican group added, saying Berry’s “vile tweet encouraging violence” was not taken down even after being viewed millions of times.
Arizona state senator Anthony Kern called the post “massively disturbing” in a statement and called on Hobbs’ spokeswoman to resign immediately.
Berry later made her Twitter account private. She previously worked at Progress Now Arizona, a left-wing nonprofit that provides strategic digital campaign services.