This is nuts.
According to conservative radio host Sandy Rios, Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian’s sexual orientation was “a factor” in Tuesday's train derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200. Right-wing news sites have hastened to point out that Bostian, who campaigned against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, appears to be gay.
“I am not inferring to [sic] those of you who are gay rights activists and who like to monitor this show, I’m not inferring that this accident happened because he was gay,” said Rios, who hosts “Sandy Rios In The Morning” on American Family Radio. “But I do think it’s an interesting part of the story, and I bet it will be edited out.”
“I don’t know," she added, "but I think it is something to be discussed and I think it’s a factor and I doubt you will hear it anywhere else.”
Note the rhetoric here: Rios prefaced her statement by saying she’s not blaming Bostian’s sexuality for the disaster and then went on to do just that. It’s the “I’m not racist but ...” argument.
Rios then implied a parallel situation with someone she knows who underwent a gender transition and also worked in transportation. She characterized this other individual as “going through some confusion that has to do with the very core of who they are.”
“Someone I know who worked for a very large airline started taking hormone shots and put his entire plane at risk because he had an emotional, angry outburst to something that happened,” Rios said.
Besides her radio show, Rios is also a former Fox News contributor (who was listed on its website as an active contributor as recently as Friday)* and the director of government affairs at the American Family Association, which has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Rios did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
H/T Right Wing Watch
*UPDATED: This article has been updated to note that Rios is no longer a contributor to Fox News.