A member of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys posted a picture of himself alongside Gov. Doug Ducey that was taken at the March for Life anti-abortion rally over the weekend.
Abraham Cancino posted the image of himself wearing a black and yellow polo shirt – the Proud Boys’ uniform – standing beside Ducey near a black SUV. Cancino added text to the photo identifying Ducey, along with the letters “pb,” for Proud Boy, under his face.
At least 15 Proud Boys members attended the Jan. 18 pro-life rally.
The Proud Boys have been classified by the FBI as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism and have been known for their violent clashes at protests.
“He takes photos with hundreds of individuals at events on a regular basis, and him taking a photo with any group or individual should not be seen as an endorsement of anyone’s views or actions,” Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for the Gov. said to the Arizona Mirror. “He denounces racism and political violence in all forms – they have no place in Arizona or America.”
“And, for the record, we don’t vet people who approach the governor at public events – it’s impossible,” Ptak added, “So, moving forward, you can save time and assume that a random selfie is not an endorsement of any group or viewpoint.”
Cancino’s describes himself on his Facebook page as a political activist. In recent weeks, he has created online fundraising pages with politically charged messages.
This isn’t the first time the governor has posed for photos with extremists.
In 2018, Ducey faced backlash after members of the group Patriot Movement AZ were photographed with the governor at a campaign event. One of the group’s members used the “OK” hand gesture, which has been used by white supremacist groups and others on the far right, both as expressions of white supremacy and as a way to rankle liberals.
Ducey denounced Patriot Movement AZ and said that agreeing for photos with any person should not be seen as an endorsement of their views.