Arizona Sen. Anthony Kern Faces Backlash for Appearing on Far-Right Talk Show

Arizona Senator Anthony Kern appeared on a far-right talk show with a host who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler, sparking controversy. Kern faces criminal charges for his involvement in a fake elector scheme and was present during the January 6 violence at the US Capitol.

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Arizona Sen. Anthony Kern Faces Backlash for Appearing on Far-Right Talk Show

Arizona Sen. Anthony Kern Faces Backlash for Appearing on Far-Right Talk Show

Arizona Senator Anthony Kern, a Republican from Glendale, has sparked controversy by appearing on a far-right talk show with a host who has expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler. Kern, who faces criminal charges for his involvement as a fake elector and for being present during the January 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol, appeared on The Stew Peters Show on May 1 to discuss a Drag Story Hour event held at the Arizona House of Representatives.

Why this matters: The appearance of a sitting senator on a far-right talk show with a host who promotes hateful ideologies raises concerns about the normalization of extremism in politics. This incident also highlights thegrowing divide in the US political landscape, where elected officials are increasingly willing to engage with fringe groups and promote inflammatory rhetoric.

The Drag Story Hour event, hosted by Rep. Lorena Austin, D-Mesa, the nation's first nonbinary Chicane legislator, took place on April 30 in a basement meeting room at the Arizona House. The event sparked an outcry among Republicans who have been vocal against drag and the LGBTQ community. Kern was the first to post about the event and specifically called out his GOP primary opponent, House Speaker Ben Toma, for allowing it to take place.

During his appearance on The Stew Peters Show, Kern used the Arizona Senate's broadcast facilities to join the show live on video. Peters, the host, is known for embracing antisemitic rhetoric and praising the Nazis. "They did exactly what reasonable people would do if given the opportunity," Peters said, referring to the Nazi book burnings. He also falsely claimed that the Drag Story Hour event included children and attacked House Speaker Ben Toma, asking, "Is Ben Toma a pedophile? Is he a groomer?"

Kern, during the show, called for churches and Christians to rise up, stating, "It is time for battle. This is our 1776 moment. We have to rise up and get our country back." Rep. Lorena Austin responded to the controversy, saying, "It is time for battle. This is our 1776 moment. We have to rise up and get our country back." She emphasized that the event was educational, included no minors, and was within the mission of the LGBTQ+ Caucus.

The Drag Story Hour event, which was also hosted by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, was met with immediate condemnation from Republicans. House Speaker Ben Toma stated that Austin "deliberately misled House leadership to reserve a conference room" and that "use of House facilities for radical activism to promote dangerously perverse ideology will not be tolerated while I am Speaker." As a result, Toma ordered that Democrats would lose the privilege of accessing House meeting rooms until trust can be restored.

Kern's appearance on the controversial talk show and his indictment by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes for his role in Donald Trump's fake elector scheme have put him under increased scrutiny. His history of controversial statements and actions, including inviting members of his church to pray and speak in tongues on the Senate floor, has also drawn attention. As the criminal charges against Kern move forward and the fallout from the Drag Story Hour event continues, the political landscape in Arizona remains tense and divided.

Key Takeaways

  • Arizona Senator Anthony Kern appeared on a far-right talk show with a host who admires Adolf Hitler.
  • Kern faces criminal charges for his role in a fake elector scheme and being present at the January 6 US Capitol violence.
  • The talk show host, Stew Peters, has a history of promoting hateful ideologies and antisemitic rhetoric.
  • Kern used the Arizona Senate's facilities to join the show, sparking concerns about the normalization of extremism in politics.
  • The controversy surrounds a Drag Story Hour event at the Arizona House, which Republicans have condemned as "radical activism."