Josselyn Berry, the press secretary of Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, has come under fire from Republicans in the state after posting a controversial tweet on social media. The meme featured an image of a gun with text that read "Trans Rights are Human Rights," and was posted just hours after a shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that left 10 people dead.
Critics slammed Berry for what they saw as insensitive and inappropriate timing for such messaging. Some Republican lawmakers called on Governor Hobbs to take action against her spokesperson over the incident.
"Making light of gun violence is never okay, especially not in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy," said State Representative Mark Finchem. "The fact that this post also promotes an agenda unrelated to public safety only adds insult to injury."
In response to the backlash, Berry deleted the tweet and issued an apology via Twitter.
"I deeply regret any offense caused by my recent post," she wrote. "It was not my intention to make light of gun violence or diminish its impact on our communities. I stand with all those affected by senseless acts of violence and remain committed to fighting for equality and justice for all Arizonans."
Governor Hobbs has yet to comment publicly on the incident or indicate whether any disciplinary action will be taken against her press secretary. However, some supporters have rallied behind Berry online, defending her right to free speech and expressing solidarity with trans individuals who face discrimination and violence.
The incident highlights ongoing tensions between Democrats and Republicans in Arizona over issues related to gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, and social justice more broadly. As political polarization continues across America, incidents like this are likely to become increasingly common as both sides seek ways to gain leverage over one another ahead of upcoming elections at local, state, and national levels.