PHOENIX — The press aide for Gov. Katie Hobbs was forced out after a Twitter post, made hours after the Nashville school shooting, that some people said supported violence against those who oppose rights for transgender people.
"The governor does not condone violence in any form," Hobbs' office said Wednesday in a prepared statement about Josselyn Berry. "The post by the press secretary is not reflective of the values of the administration."
And Murphy Hebert, the governor's communications director — and Berry's boss — confirmed that Hobbs had asked for Berry's resignation.
Berry did not respond to a request for comment.
At the heart of the controversy is as post by Berry late Monday featuring an image from the 1980 movie "Gloria" showing a women with a handgun in each hand. "Us when we see transphobes," Berry wrote.
That followed an earlier post where she wrote "If you work in the progressive community and are transphobic, you're not progressive. Period. End of story."
What complicated the issue is the timing.
The post occurred just hours after a shooting at a Nashville private school which killed six people, including three children.
Police said the shooter identified as male but was born female. Police have yet to release any motive for the attack, other than to say the shooter had surveilled the campus of the Christian school and had created a map.
It was also reported that the shooter at one time had been a student at the school.
The posting provoked an immediate reaction from Daniel Scarpinato who had been a press aide and, later, chief of staff for former Gov. Doug Ducey.
"Twelve hours after the shooting in Tennessee, the spokeswoman for Gov. Hobbs share her feelings about what to do to people who disagree with her political views: Shoot them," he wrote in his own Twitter post. "Just imagine if this was the spokesperson for a Republican governor."
And the Arizona Freedom Caucus, composed of the most conservative Republicans in the Legislature, called the post "vile" and sought Berry's firing.
Berry initially sought to contain the damage by locking her Twitter account to limit who could view her posts. Now, the post has been removed by Twitter as violating its rules.
In the prepared statement explaining the decision, the governor's office sought to make it clear that, suggestions of violence aside, what Berry had posted ran afoul of what Hobbs considers to be the way of dealing with conflict.
"This administration holds mutual respect at the forefront of how we engage with one another," it says.
The issue of the timing so close to the Nashville shooting aside, the post does not come in a political vacuum in Arizona.
Republican lawmakers are moving on several fronts to limit what some people say are the rights of transgender people, including a requirement that teachers use the pronouns associated with a child's assigned sex at birth when addressing them at school.
Hobbs and aides have repeatedly said such bills are likely to meet with a veto.
"There is zero chance the governor would sign the pronouns bill," Berry said at the time.
And Allie Bones, Hobbs' chief of staff, said on social media that the governor was clear in her State of the State speech she wanted lawmakers to focus on "real issues."
"Going after LGBTQ kids doesn't fit the bill," Bones wrote. "I hope the Legislature doesn't waste waste any more time on this, because it's DOA."
Despite that, the Senate approved SB 1001, sponsored by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, earlier this month on a party-line vote. It now awaits House action.
Kavanagh also is the sponsor of SB 1040 which says that students who refuse to use bathrooms that are designed for their assigned sex must instead be given access to an alternative, like a single-occupancy restroom. That measure also cleared the Senate and a House committee.
There are other measures that the LGBTQ community says are aimed at them, including several designed to make certain "drag shows" a crime if they can be seen by children.