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Tag: oregon gop

New Oregon GOP Chair Tied To Violent Right-Wing Extremists

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Dallas Heard, the newly elected chair of the Oregon Republican Party, once visited an armed militia group as it illegally occupied a federal wildlife facility. Heard also has connections to anti-mask extremists and was involved in protests at the Oregon state Capitol on January 6, the same day as the attack by supporters of Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol.

On Monday it was announced that Heard, a state senator, had been elected to the position. The selection of Heard is seen as a move further to the right for the state party, which recently described the attack on the U.S. Capitol as a "false flag" event.

Democrats currently control the Oregon House, Senate, and governorship.

In 2016, as a state representative, Heard traveled to the headquarters of the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which was at the time being occupied by an armed right-wing militia led by Ammon Bundy, son of the anti-government figure Cliven Bundy.

Heard met with the younger Bundy against the advice of law enforcement and expressed sympathy for the group's demand that federal lands be turned over to the states.

The occupation went on for 40 days and ended with multiple indictments and arrests, including prison sentences for nine people involved in the assault. One militant was killed during a confrontation with law enforcement.

In addition to his involvement with the militia, Heard is also connected to Citizens Against Tyranny, an Oregon group that opposes safety measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Heard offered to raffle off some of his personal possessions to provide financial support to the group.

Citizens Against Tyranny posted online the names of two women who they claimed had filed complaints with OSHA about businesses in Oregon not fully complying with COVID restrictions. The site described the women as "filthy traitors" in type designed to look blood-spattered.

Rick Wesenberg, the district attorney for Douglas County, Oregon, condemned Citizens Against Tyranny for engaging in "intimidation."

"Public shaming and banning of certain 'listed' Douglas County citizens is offensive to our democracy and the due process of law," he added.

John Hanlin, the sheriff of the county, also criticized the group's tactics.

Earlier in 2020, Heard spoke in opposition to mask mandates during a special legislative session and took off his mask as a form of protest.

Heard was also involved in rallies held by Trump supporters in opposition to Democratic control of the state government.

At a December 2020 rally at the state Capitol, Heard told a crowd that he was in "full support" of them entering the locked building. Members of that crowd later stormed the building, attacking security officers, damaging property inside, and harassing legislators.

A man who stood next to Heard as he made his comment, David Medina, was later a member of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol and was recorded speaking outside of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

That same day, Heard spoke to a right-wing rally outside the Oregon Capitol and told them, "Don't let any of these punks from that stone temple over there ever tell you they are better than any of you."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

State GOP Leaders Lurching Toward Cultism, Secession, And Worse

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

State Republican parties across the country became even more extreme over the first week without Donald Trump in the White House, punishing Republicans who they felt didn't support Trump enough and pushing baseless conspiracy theories that helped lead to the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The actions from state Republican parties are a surefire sign that the GOP cannot easily wipe its hands clean of Trump, even though those like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell want nothing more to do with him following the attacks that led to the death of one Capitol Police officer.

Here's a look at what some state Republican parties have done since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20:

Arizona Republican Party

On Saturday, the Arizona Republican Party voted to censure the late Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, along with former Sen. Jeff Flake and current GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, saying all three were disloyal to Trump.

Both McCain and Flake voted for President Joe Biden, while Ducey refused to overturn Trump's loss in Arizona.

The state party also voted to reelect Kelli Ward — a conspiracy theorist who has surrounded herself with white supremacists — as chair.

Ward told the Associated Press that she is a "Trump Republican" as she dismissed criticism from other state party members who felt she was loyal only to Trump and not the GOP itself.

"The people who are complaining are the people who actually put us in this spot where we are in Arizona, people who have been mamby pamby, lie down and allow the Democrats to walk all over them," Ward — who saw Republicans lose both of Arizona's U.S. Senate seats and Democrats carry the state at the presidential level for the first time since 1996 under her leadership — told the Associated Press.

Texas Republican Party

The Texas GOP announced on Saturday it was joining Gab, a far-right social media platform used by neo-Nazis.

The perpetrator behind the deadly 2018 attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue used the site to announce his attack.

In the same tweet announcing it was joining the extremist social media website, the Texas Republican Party also used the phrase "We are the storm." That's a phrase used by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which many of the insurrectionists involved in the violence at the Capitol follow.

In fact, ABC News reported that many of the most violent insurrectionists have espoused QAnon beliefs.

Yet the Texas GOP, led by extremist Republican Allen West, has been using the phrase for months on its merchandise since West took control.

West has previously said the day Biden's Electoral College victory was certified that Texas should secede.

Oregon Republican Party

On Jan. 19, the day before Biden was sworn in, the Oregon Republican Party passed a resolution calling the insurrection at the Capitol a "false flag" and compared it to the burning of the German Parliament in 1933 that led to the rise of Nazi control.

In a resolution, the state party wrote that there is "growing evidence that the violence as the Capitol was a 'false flag' operation intended to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans," the resolution reads. "This provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933 burning of the German Reichstag."

The Capitol insurrection was proven by many reports not to be a "false flag," but rather an attack carried out by fervent Trump supporters who had been fed a lie for months that the election was stolen. Trump himself told them to fight at the Capitol, comments that led to his second impeachment.

Hawaii Republican Party

The Hawaii Republican Party used its Twitter account on Saturday to promote content from a Holocaust denier, who was making baseless claims about Biden "selling the grid to China and killing diabetes patients."

Wyoming Republican Party

Finally, the chair of the Wyoming Republican Party took a page from West's playbook to suggest his state should consider seceding over Trump's loss.

"We are straight-talking, focused on the global scene, but we're also focused at home. Many Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we're keeping eyes on Texas, too, and their consideration of possible secession," Wyoming Republican Party Chair Frank Eathorne said on recently pardoned former Trump associate Steve Bannon's podcast, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.