Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement on Monday condemning newly unearthed comments made by state Rep. Matt Shea in a 2017 group text with fellow far-right extremists. Inslee’s remarks follow similar statements proposing Shea’s immediate expulsion by Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib and the Washington state Democratic Party. The group chat was first reported by the Guardian on Saturday.
Shea, a six-term legislator, has long been known as a far-right psycho—his main selling point involved him calling for war on the basis of the Bible in 2018. (This included a full-on threat against the LGBTQ community, with Shea writing “If they do not yield – kill all males.”) That tends to be the topline for Shea, but it’d be a shame to forget the time he pulled a loaded pistol on a fellow motorist in a fit of road rage or his ongoing calls for the creation of a 51st state, for reasons that basically amount to a drunken, stumbling white guy shouting “liberty!”
What the Guardian’s reporting offered was a look inside the minds of the fellow far-right mouth-breathers such a legislator might attract. The publication published portions of private communications shared between Shea, far-right Washington radio personality Jack Robertson, and Anthony Bosworth, a militia-man type and alleged child abuser that Shea nonetheless dubbed his “2016 Patriot of the Year.” The conversations were conducted in the weeks leading up to Nov. 4, 2017, when several anti-fascist groups intended to hold peaceful protests.
The trio constantly singled out left-leaning activists and other Washington figures they deemed enemies of their various causes. The shit-talking pretty quickly devolved into the kind of openly violent rhetoric that such closed conversations between right-wing zealots tend to produce, including the following message sent by Robertson, who, per the Guardian, suggested several forms of assault on an unidentified antifa activist:
Fist full of hair, and face slam, to a Jersey barrier. Treat em like communist revolutionaries. Then shave her bald with a K-Bar USMC field knife.
According to the messages published by the paper, Shea participated by offering to conduct background searches on any Washington residents that Robertson and Bosworth deemed ideological threats:
Ok. What BG checks need to be done. Give me the list.
When the antifa event fizzled out due to bad weather, Shea, per the Guardian, posted the ensuing hilarious joke:
Nothing ruins a good communist revolution like snow. Snowflakes afraid of snowflakes
The unfortunate part of this debacle is how unsurprising it is for those that follow Washington state—or really just northwestern—politics. Politicians like Shea exist in these state legislatures and are more than happy to not only let petulant far-righters, gun-lovers, and anti-government radicals bend their ear, but to actively jump in the DMs to plot out their response to wholly imagined revolts.