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Matt Shea
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Republican lawmaker removed from leadership following ‘manifesto’ controversy

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, speaks at a gun-rights rally, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. in 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Following his reelection to the House, State Representative Matt Shea has been dropped from his Republican leadership role in Washington.

“Thank you to all of you who pressured House Republicans to do the right thing and remove Matt Shea as caucus chair,” Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib said via Twitter this week. “Advocating violence against religious minorities is both immoral and un-American. You made that clear, and your voices were heard!”

Rep. Shea, of Spokane Valley, came under scrutiny before the November election for a Biblical “manifesto” that many found controversial, relating it to racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric common with white nationalists. The document talked about how to wage a war according to points found in the Bible. It describes a holy army that should first offer peace, but “kill all males” if that peace is rejected. It also notes that a “tyrant” is someone who rules without God, and says assassinating a tyrant is just and not murder.

Shea argues that the four-page document is not a manifesto, rather, notes on a sermon detailing the Bible’s justifications for war. He admits to writing the document and has has spoken about it publicly before the controversy around the election. Shea said the manifesto claims are smears and publicly said that he does not support racism, anti-Semitism, or white nationalism.

But on Monday, KIRO Radio reporter Hanna Scott discovered that Shea was no longer listed as the head of the House GOP caucus. Instead, Rep. Paul Harris of Vancouver was taking on the role.

Despite Shea’s insistence that he did not write a manifesto, many campaign donors asked for their money back. The negative press didn’t keep him out of office, however, and 58 percent of voters in District 4 reelected Shea in November.

Following his reelection, Lt. Governor Habib called for state Republican leaders to remove Shea as chair of the House Republicans. Habib said the “manifesto” threatened religious minorities.

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