After years of controversy, Rep. Matt Shea no longer part of House Republican leadership

click to enlarge After years of controversy, Rep. Matt Shea no longer part of House Republican leadership
Young Kwak
Rep. Matt Shea has been distributing a document titled "Bibleical Basis for War."

Rep. Matt Shea isn't new to controversial headlines.

He pulled a gun in a road rage confrontation. He called the tax audit of Idaho Rep. Phil Hart "bureaucratic terrorism." He riffed with Alex Jones about FEMA camp conspiracies. He encouraged people to stock up on ammo to use on looters when society inevitably collapses. He flew down to Nevada to cheerlead the Bundy Ranch standoff. He sent a "security expert" named Anthony Bosworth — who had earlier been arrested for bringing an AK-style rifle to the federal courthouse — down to help the armed occupiers of the Oregon wildlife refuge. He repeatedly refuses to answer questions from the local newspapers, referring to them as the "Socialist-Review" and the "Inslander." Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich calls Shea a liar, while former County Commissioner Todd Mielke described an outburst of "spontaneous, extreme anger."

But for almost a decade, none of this seemed to impact his standing with the Washington State House Republicans. For seven years, Shea was Republican assistant floor leader. And in 2017, he got elected to an even more influential position within the party: caucus chair.

But not anymore. Caucus leadership elections were held on Monday, and Shea wasn't on the list.

So what changed? While Republicans wouldn't comment on the discussions in the caucus elections, Shea made a lot more headlines in the last couple of months. First, he called journalists "dirty, godless, hateful people." Then he was the subject of a massive Rolling Stone profile from former Inlander writer Leah Sottile. And finally, a Shea-authored document called "Biblical Basis for War" made international news. The document, which appeared to cite the Old Testament command in Deuteronomy to "kill all males" who did not surrender to God's people, also condemns "communism" and urges the use of "assassination and sabotage" against "tyrants." While Shea insisted that he was not actually calling for mass murder, multiple campaign donors requested their money back.

"Thank you to all of you who pressured House Republicans to do the right thing and remove Matt Shea as caucus chair," Democratic Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib wrote on Twitter. "Advocating violence against religious minorities is both immoral and un-American."

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