LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A former Nebraska Republican Party intern who later worked as a paid campaign staffer for Gov. Pete Ricketts apologized Monday after being exposed as the person behind a series of hateful online posts in which he used anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs and advocated for violence against gay rights parades, black activists and journalists.
Benett Bressman, 22, made the remarks anonymously in an online chat forum for fans of the YouTube show “America First,” hosted by Nicholas Fuentes, a right-wing activist who has participated in white nationalist rallies.
Bressman was outed as the author of the posts by activists from “Anti-Fascist Action Nebraska,” a local chapter of the group known as “antifa,” and Ricketts’ campaign and the state GOP both confirmed that he worked for them. Bressman spent seven months as a field staffer for the governor’s 2018 re-election campaign, during which time he distributed yard signs and helped coordinate campaign volunteers. His work on the campaign ended in December.
“I am shocked and horrified to learn that this former staffer made these statements and I had no idea he harbored these feelings,” Ricketts said in a statement. “He never expressed these views to me. I condemn these statements and this hateful worldview, which do not reflect my beliefs.”
Ryan Hamilton, the executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, said Bressman volunteered as an intern for the party during the spring semester of 2018. Hamilton said the party will re-examine its pre-employment screening procedures.