The problems of the Republican Party’s incessant association with radical violence do not at all end with Donald Trump. The Guardian has now published a rundown of messages from an incendiary group chat that for its entire duration included six-term and counting Washington state Representative Matt Shea. In that chat, Shea participated in fantasizing about violence against political adversaries, surveillance of opponents, and targeting larger groups, like Muslims in general. He’s now under investigation by the Rampart Group, which the Washington state House hired to “assess the level of threat of political violence posed by these individuals and groups.”
The progressive Western States Center’s program director Lindsay Schubiner shared:
‘The chat messages reveal Shea acting more like a militia leader than an elected official. His conspiratorial and violent mindset are on full display. If it was not already clear, Shea has demonstrated that he is unfit for public office. Now it’s time for his colleagues in the Washington house of representatives to hold him accountable.’
The chat messages run from October 2017 through October 2018. Other participants include two-term Idaho state representative Heather Scott and Shea’s “lieutenant” Jack Robertson, among others, like Anthony Bosworth, who participated in the infamous early 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Shea’s allies have advocated, including right there in the chat, for the radical, outlandish plan to separate an entire portion of Washington state into a new jurisdiction that would — in their fantasy — be free from control from both the Washington state and D.C. governments.
Robertson — the close associate of Shea — repeatedly called for direct violence.
As baseless rumors of “planned riots” took off in the chat, he said:
‘Sometimes, ya just gotta go out and pick a fight with the philistines. Knock some heads. Bring back some foreskins. Lol!’
Later that same day, he added:
‘We could have a contest … see how many communists we could knock out, before getting knocked out or arrested!’
The Guardian reports that Shea specifically spread utterly baseless rumors in the chat that Muslims might be launching attacks on their fellow Americans to correspond with the start of Ramadan 2018.
‘Please remember tomorrow is the first day of Ramadan begins Tuesday/Wednesday. Higher likelihood of terror attacks.’
Soon after, Robertson was more direct. He added:
‘Wow. Ramadan began yesterday. Avoid crowds when possible, be vigilant, stay armed, and keep a combat rifle accessible when practical.’
To be clear — that’s the associate of a sitting GOP leader openly advocating for his closest allies to have a combat rifle ready, if possible, to confront Muslims.
Shea personally chimed in at a previous point in apparent agreement with a statement from Bosworth, who said in response to fake news depicting the Parkland school shooter as a leftist:
‘The communist bastards need to be shot’
Shea’s ideology has been parroted by Republicans across the country — some of which Trump infamously described as “very fine people” after a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that included the death of one counterprotester.