Nebraska GOP must face the controversy surrounding former Ricketts’ campaign staffer

Activists revealed chatlogs from former Rickett’s staffer, Bennett Bressman, that expressed hatred and encouraged violence against various minorities.
Graphic by Maria Nevada

Jeff Turner

Chatlogs featuring Bennett Bressman, a former campaign staffer for Governor Pete Ricketts’ 2018 reelection campaign, were leaked by the activist group Unicorn Riot.

These chatlogs were from the stream “America First,” hosted by nationalist media personality Nicolas J. Fuentes. In the course of about three-thousand chatlogs, Bressman voices his hatred for just about everyone: women, minorities, Jewish peoples, his mother (more on this soon), and the LGBT+ community. The list overwhelms even after going over one-thousand of the three-thousand chatlogs.

When this became a major news story, Ricketts wasted no time in disowning Bressman, saying he was unaware of the comments and Bressman had not been employed with the campaign since December of last year. Bressman himself admits the chatlogs were his own, he describes himself as being seduced by a “toxic group chat.” Upon Googling the username featured in the chat, “bress222,” you can find references to the livestream on his YouTtube channel at the end of the first page.

There are screencaps from the leaked chatlogs showing Bressman bragging about all of the opportunities that were being thrown his way. He was able to get a position of credibility in the Governor’s re-election campaign seemingly straight out of school. This, as well as the chats below, are important in getting an understanding for who this guy is.

There is an overpowering, uncomfortable sense of subtext in the ‘rhetorical’ violence he wishes in these chats.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports how Bressman thought he was protected by “anonymity,” which then allowed him to spew his bile. This is laughable, as he seemingly takes every possible opportunity to brag about his position and the happenings of the campaign behind the scenes as well as his personal quality time with Ricketts.

Now, all parties involved cite Bressman tasks’ as canvassing, managing interns and yard signs–field organizer work. The chatlogs show Bressman’s claim he has been working on influencing the governor towards “the culture,” and that he was party to getting what eventually became the videos of 2018 Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Bob Krist at a bar.

They went duck hunting together, they appear to have been friends in some capacity—at least the chatlogs present their relationship as such. The governor has stated publicly that Bressman never expressed those views with him. In the chatlogs Bressman also admits that if anyone in the Nebraska GOP found out about this, he would probably lose his job.

So, what now? In the chat Bressman expresses many anti-Semitic views, and in the last year alone anti-Semitic incidents saw a large increase in Nebraska, according to reporting from several local outlets. Ricketts should speak on potential new policies to address this increase.

The Nebraska GOP seems to want to move along and forget about Bennett Bressman and little has been done to dissuade them. This should not be allowed to be swept under the rug under any circumstances.