FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 4, 2019
WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE MATT SHEA STORY:
- This morning in an oped in the Spokesman Review, WA State Chair Tina Podlodowski calls out Republicans and their funders for sheltering Matt Shea.
“Matt Shea is the rotting carcass stinking up the Republicans’ back rooms, and this is not the time to look the other way…The Washington Republican Party must act now – for the sake of all of us – to rid our political system of blights like Matt Shea. If they don’t, we Democrats must make sure Shea’s stench follows them into the 2020 elections.”
- On Friday, in an interview with Q13, House Republican leader J.T. Wilcox seemingly brushed off the seriousness of Matt Shea’s actions, saying Shea is “competent” and “there are things to like about Matt.” He appeared to defend Shea’s participation in a secret chat group called White Nation, where participants threatened political opponents with violence, and suggested his party’s investigation into Shea could last “months.”
- Hours later, WA State House Democrats announced they are launching an independent investigation into Shea’s actions. They are also calling on their Republican colleagues to reprimand Rep. Matt Shea, and remove him from a key post on a House committee.
“Through his words and actions, Representative Shea has aligned himself with voices that seek to erode the very ideals of our democracy and One Washington. If we choose to tolerate an escalating language of violence, and remain indifferent to this attack on our shared humanity, we believe that as a legislative body we will not truly serve all our constituents and this institution.”
- Within hours, Wilcox responded with his own letter, criticizing Democrats for “politicizing” the issue and expressing concern about “a lasting and significant impact on Representative Shea.”
“We are dismayed that this matter has been politicized and appears to be clearly
coordinated with the Washington State Democratic Party, as is evident from the party’s social media campaign beginning days ago, matching the sentiments and demands in your letter and the seemingly scripted calls and e-mails being sent to our office. As you note, as we note, as the media has noted, the allegations are serious. They may have a lasting and significant impact on Representative Shea and this institution.“
- Last week, The Seattle Times editorial board, which often endorses Republicans, issued a scathing rebuke of WA State GOP leaders, including House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox.
“Washington Republicans should reflect on the old saying that a person is known by the company he keeps. State Rep. Matt Shea has kept some very bad company. If the House GOP caucus doesn’t disavow him, it becomes party to the reprehensible views Shea and his friends espouse.”
- Spokane Jewish leaders also expressed concerns about Shea’s encouragement of anti-Semitic violence in an oped in the Spokesman Review.
“We call for Representative Shea to cease posting and sharing links to sites that promote religious or racial intolerance and hatred. We call for him to renounce and cease participating in forums that promote religious or racial intolerance and hatred. Moving forward, we call on Representative Shea, and all our elected officials to use their positions to combat the rising tide of white nationalism, anti-Semitism and racism – not to fuel it.”