Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A social media account for Audrey Trujillo, the Republican candidate for secretary of state, has shared tweets mimicking a Spanish accent and suggesting Jews had outsized influence in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
In an interview Monday, Trujillo initially said the tweets were fabricated, perhaps by antifa activists in Santa Fe creating fake accounts to embarrass political opponents.
But after confirming the profile in question was hers, she suggested her account may have been hacked and – if it wasn’t – that the tweets weren’t intended to be racist.
“If it was tweeted by me – which I said I don’t recall these tweets – that’s not something I would say, in terms of anything with Jewish or racist intent at all,” Trujillo said.
She said she opposes vaccine mandates and might not have seen the Star of David images next to people’s faces in the vaccine tweet, if she sent it.
Trujillo also said someone had tried to gain unauthorized access to her account – a potential explanation, she said, for tweets she didn’t remember.
The two tweets were shared from the Twitter account, @AudreyTrueHero, according to a Journal search of the site last week. Trujillo confirmed that’s her account.
Her account was later switched to a private setting, blocking it from public view, but the tweets could be viewed by anyone before that.
Trujillo said she is Hispanic and has Jewish heritage.
“I’m not racist,” she said. “Honestly, I hate that stuff.”
The tweets include:
• An image of a man in a straw hat, with an announcement that “bodywash” is the Mexican word of the day. It adds: “Biden was on TV but no Bodywash him.”
It was retweeted by Trujillo’s account with the comment, “Lol.”
In Monday’s interview, she said she didn’t remember the tweet.
“But when I look at that, I don’t see it as making fun of Mexicans. I see it as a political statement,” Trujillo said.
• A message saying “Look here!” and finger-pointing emoji.
The tweet has an image of pharmaceutical executives with the Star of David – a symbol of Jewish identity – beside each face.
The image says “Pick your poison!” and describes a number of alleged Jewish connections to COVID-19 vaccines. There are dollar figures listed for “corporation net worth” and symbols of an eye in a triangle, similar to what’s on a dollar bill.
One line of text reads: “Which group is heavily over-represented in vaccine nepotism?”
Scott Levin, the Mountain states regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, said the pandemic has triggered propaganda that uses ancient myths and conspiracies about Jewish people to suggest they have profited from disease and vaccines.
“This kind of graphic sort of normalizes hate against Jews,” he said after viewing the tweet.
Antisemitic incidents tracked by his organization, Levin said, jumped 34% in 2021 from the previous year.
“It’s important for our leaders to all speak against these types of myths and conspiracies, not promote them,” he said.
Delaney Corcoran, as a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said prominent Republicans have been promoting Trujillo’s candidacy.
“The Republican candidate for secretary of state’s tweets are a blatant and vile demonstration of antisemitism and one that is antithetical to New Mexico’s history of diversity and individuality,” Corcoran said.
The state Republican Party wouldn’t comment on the posts Monday.
Trujillo is the lone Republican candidate in the race for secretary of state, the office that oversees New Mexico elections. Also running are incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, and Libertarian Mayna Erika Myers.
Trujillo said the sharing of the tweets – which drew condemnation from Democratic legislators on Twitter – was “just an attack to defame me.”
She said she assumed posts were the result of fake accounts created by left-wing activists to embarrass people they disagree with.
Trujillo said she went through her Twitter history and couldn’t find the posts about COVID-19 vaccines and the Mexican word of the day.
Informed that the posts could be found last week through a public search of her account, she noted that people had tried to gain unauthorized access to her profile.
“You do get nefarious people who try to break in and mess with your account,” Trujillo said.
She also left open the possibility that she might have retweeted something without looking at it closely.