This Governor’s Ex-Staffer Is Trying to Explain All His Violent Internet Chats

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is quickly distancing himself from a former campaign staffer who made a series of offensive, violent comments in an online chat room.

Bennett Bressman served as field director for Ricketts’ 2018 re-election campaign, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. Bressman was responsible for leading interns in various outreach activities ó including canvassing, making phone calls, handing out yard signs, answering voter questions and generally trying to get Ricketts re-elected as governor.

But when he wasn’t on the campaign clock, Bressman was sending violent messages through a server on the popular internet chat service Discord. The server in question was called the Nicholas Fuentes Server, which Discord has apparently deleted for breaking its policy on inciting violence.

Posting under the not-very-clever username “bress222,” this paid staffer revealed his true thoughts on the LGBQT+ community, immigrants, journalists and more. These messages were exposed by Anti-Fascist Action Nebraska, which works to uncover white nationalists and fascists.

On journalists:

  • “Make journalists afraid again.”
  • “My whole political ideology revolves around harming journalists.”
  • “Someone needs to rhetorically bomb CNN’s headquarters.”

On immigrants:

  • “I have more compassion for small dogs than illegals.”
  • “Cheap immigrant labor = more wheat fields.”

On the LGBQT+ community:

  • “Gays are scum of the earth.”
  • “My friend and I threw eggs at a LGBT rally and ran away. Now I would do that unironically.”

He also chatted that he “probably would” drive his car through a Black Lives Matter protest just for some laughs.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts Photo Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Unfortunately for Bressman, he made it incredibly obvious to discover these messages. In addition to his not-so-secretive screen name, he also spoke openly in the chat about his plum position in the governor’s campaign. And he posted photos of himself in between his vulgar remarks.

Ricketts has disavowed the comments, the Omaha World-Herald reports. “I had no idea he harbored these feelings,” Ricketts said. “He never expressed these views to me.”

Furthermore, Bressman has come forward and emphasized that while the comments “look really bad and are really bad on their face,” they were all posted “on his own time” and not while on the clock of the campaign, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. He said he originally joined the Discord chat to gain access to a call-in show hosted by server owner and white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

Bressman, who is now apologetic, told the Lincoln Journal Star that he got wrapped up in the “tough talk” of the “toxic chat,” and he doesn’t truly mean the things he said.

“When you think you have anonymity, itís easy to become desensitized to what youíre saying,Ē Bressman said. “… [The posts] arenít indicative of who I am as a person.”

It is extremely disturbing how easily these violent, hateful philosophies can find themselves right at home in the modern Republican Party. Personally, I find it very hard to believe that nobody on the campaign picked up on Bressman’s incredibly radical and offensive stances.

It’s important that this type of hate isn’t allowed to operate in the orbit of our elected officials. And Ricketts should be thinking long and hard about his hiring strategy in the future.

Main image: Nebraska governor's mansion, RiverNorthPhotography/Getty Images


heather g
heather g22 days ago

I quote Ricketts : ” they were all posted “on his own time” That's not in any way a criticism of that white trashy Republican.

Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a month ago


Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a month ago


Fred L
Fred Labout a month ago

One more thing: fascist lunacy seems to be more and more the norm for not only Trumpists, but the rest of the Republican Party.

Fred L
Fred Labout a month ago

What a dick. And he has the gall to claim that the posts "aren’t indicative of who I am as a person.” He was stupid enough to get caught; now he should own up to the fact that he is a fascist lunatic.

Debbi W
Debbi Wabout a month ago

Gov. Ricketts is unhinged. trump is drumming up business for insane asylums. His haters will become a lucrative business for psychiatrists.

Past Member
Past Member about a month ago

As someone who likes dark humor, even this isn't funny. Dark humor is meant to find humor in darker times without blaming the victim and even disadvantaged groups like blacks and LGBT people make use of that type of humor. But this? It's dark humor that doesn't blame the actual perpetrators, and lacks no wit whatsoever. It's just not funny.

Anne M
Anne Moranabout a month ago

Bressman sounds like the next mass shooter.... - Boy,, this guy is a hater, that’s for sure

Alea C
Alea Cabout a month ago

Everyone knew, but Trump did it, and got away with it, so the attitude was "I should be able to do the same", and that's where this country stands now. Disgusting.

Diane E
Diane Eabout a month ago

Violence in any form is disgusting.