Former Nebraska GOP staffer under fire for racist remarks

Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 11:26 AM CDT
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A former Nebraska Republican Party intern who worked as a paid campaign staffer for Gov. Pete Ricketts is apologizing for anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs he made online and statements advocating for violence against gay-rights parades, black activists and journalists.

The staff person, Bennett Bressman, 22, of Omaha, worked on Ricketts' 2018 reelection campaign as a field staffer for seven months, according to a release by the Governor's campaign office.

He stopped working for the Governor in December 2018.

Bressman confirmed to the Lincoln Journal Star on Monday the anonymous chatroom postings were his.

“I am shocked and horrified to learn that this former staffer made these statements and I had no idea he harbored these feelings. He never expressed these views to me. I condemn these statements and this hateful worldview, which do not reflect my beliefs or the beliefs of Nebraskans,” Ricketts said.

“I unequivocally denounce his hate-filled views towards Jewish people, LGBT people, African Americans, journalists, women, and others. I am particularly concerned about his anti-Semitic statements. Anti-Semitism has no place in society no matter where it hides. The State of Nebraska stands with Israel and has been a home to thousands of Jewish families for generations. We are only a generation removed from World War II, during which millions of Jews who were killed because of their heritage and 400,000 American soldiers died to stamp out Nazism and its anti-Semitic ideology. We will continue to make this state a welcoming place for the Jewish faith and work with faith leaders to root out anti-Semitism wherever it may be.”

The NEGOP released the following statement, as well. Bressman worked as an unpaid intern for the Nebraska Republican Party.

"The views expressed by Mr. Bressman online are abhorrent, and have no place in the Nebraska Republican Party or civil society," said NEGOP Executive Director Ryan Hamilton. "Had the Party been aware he harbored those beliefs, he never would have been permitted to volunteer and had the Party become aware of them during his time as an intern, he would have been terminated immediately."