NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

The disgusting extremism of Republican Jay Rodne, Snoqualmie’s own resident bigot

Over the past few days, we’ve seen a vile esca­la­tion of anti-refugee rhetoric from some of the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s most bom­bas­tic fig­ures, includ­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates like Don­ald Trump and Ted Cruz in the wake of the hor­rif­ic attacks in Paris, France. A num­ber of Repub­li­can gov­er­nors have also got­ten into the act, declar­ing that the states they’re sup­posed to be in charge of will not accept refugees (which is not a deci­sion they have the author­i­ty to make).

Our own state’s chief exec­u­tive, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, has been force­ful­ly push­ing back against this non­sense, not­ing that Wash­ing­ton has a long tra­di­tion of accept­ing refugees, and that fed­er­al author­i­ties already have an exten­sive screen­ing sys­tem in place. For that, Inslee has earned the scorn of one par­tic­u­lar­ly mean and extrem­ist Repub­li­can state rep­re­sen­ta­tive: Jay Rodne of the 5th Leg­isla­tive District.

Rodne has been trash­ing Inslee on Face­book and engag­ing in immi­grant and refugee bash­ing. His posts, which we’ve been track­ing for a while, have caught the atten­tion of the mass media, includ­ing The Seat­tle Times and The Stranger.

In an inter­view with Fox affil­i­ate KCPQ, which ran yes­ter­day, Rodne did not back down, telling the sta­tion “I stand by those comments”.

These are the spe­cif­ic com­ments that Jay Rodne stands by:

Oba­ma wants to import 1.5 mil­lion mus­lims into the U.S. This is absolute mad­ness! Islam is incom­pat­i­ble with west­ern civ­i­liza­tion! How any­one peo­ple need to die? In the inter­im, Ami­cans, arm yourselves!!!!!

– Jay Rodne, Novem­ber 13, 2015 at 9:55 PM

The Seat­tle Times deemed the first false state­ment wor­thy of a Truth Nee­dle debunk­ing, which ran online and in this morn­ing’s paper.

Rodne kept at it this week, writing:

The assault in Europe con­tin­ues and Oba­ma and Gov Inslee’s response is to open the door to unvet­ted Syr­i­an migrants. Where is the leadership?

– Jay Rodne, Novem­ber 17, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Inslee is doing no such thing, of course. As he said on Tues­day after par­tic­i­pat­ing in a White House brief­ing on secu­ri­ty pro­to­cols relat­ed to refugee resettlement:

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment reaf­firmed that refugees go through the high­est lev­el of secu­ri­ty screen­ing of any cat­e­go­ry of trav­el­er to the Unit­ed States. This mul­ti-lay­ered screen­ing process involves the use of bio­graph­ic and bio­met­ric infor­ma­tion, such as back­ground checks and fin­ger­prints, which are screened against mul­ti­ple law enforce­ment and coun­tert­er­ror­ism databases.

Refugee screen­ing experts per­form mul­ti­ple in-per­son inter­views, and each screen­ing is again reviewed by a supervisor.

Refugee can­di­dates also under­go a med­ical screen­ing. And because of the par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions regard­ing the Syr­i­an cri­sis, there are addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty screens in place for Syr­i­an refugees. The U.S. State Depart­ment is con­tin­u­al­ly mon­i­tor­ing the process to ensure we have the strongest pos­si­ble safe­guards in place to pro­vide refuge to those who need it while keep­ing out those who would seek to harm us.

Fed­er­al offi­cials also made it clear that there is a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion about the type of peo­ple who are flee­ing from per­se­cu­tion. The U.S. State Depart­ment pri­or­i­tizes the high­est-risk and most-vul­ner­a­ble groups of peo­ple – chil­dren, the elder­ly, and vic­tims of tor­ture or abuse. About half of all Syr­i­an refugees are children.

We are for­tu­nate that our nation’s loca­tion and bor­ders do not put us in the same sit­u­a­tion we see in Europe, where boats and rafts full of refugees wash ashore with a sig­nif­i­cant­ly dimin­ished abil­i­ty to track who is arriv­ing or departing.

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment feels con­fi­dent that we have in place robust and thor­ough secu­ri­ty pro­to­cols and prac­tices that allow us to pro­vide a safe har­bor to those flee­ing unfath­omable types of bru­tal­i­ty and vio­lence while also keep­ing us safe.

React­ing to Rod­ne’s Novem­ber 17th post crit­i­ciz­ing Inslee (quot­ed in full above), Denali Finan­cial CFO Chris Dukelow wrote:

I’m not sure why my ‘STATE Rep­re­sen­ta­tive’ is wast­ing time on mat­ters in which States have zero juris­dic­tion. How about fig­ur­ing out Mcleary [sic], busi­ness issues and trans­porta­tion infrastructure?

Rod­ne’s response was to dou­ble down:

Chris, many of the Gov­er­nors who have said “no” to the reset­tle­ment of Syr­i­an migrants have put teeth into their stance by man­dat­ing that no state fund­ing would be used for the relo­ca­tion services.

This could have huge bud­getary impli­ca­tions that would fur­ther drain scarce resources away from being used for oth­et [sic] bud­get items, such as Mcleary [sic]. So, I am sor­ry but this issue has a very sig­nif­i­cant nexus to our state budget.

Dukelow did­n’t care for that answer one bit.

So is this a bud­getary issue or a fear issue? I guess I don’t under­stand how refugees uti­lize state resources any­more than oth­er cit­i­zens. They get jobs, they pay sales tax, they start busi­ness­es and pay B&O tax­es, they live in places that pay prop­er­ty tax­es. And I’d ven­ture to say that they would be off assis­tance pro­grams a hel­lu­va lot quick­er than some of our “own” deadbeats.

Rodne also shared a map on Tues­day of the states with Repub­li­can gov­er­nors who have been false­ly declar­ing that their states will reject Syr­i­an refugees (which, again, is not some­thing that they have the pow­er to do), com­ment­ing approv­ing­ly, “The tide is turn­ing in favor of com­mon sense!”

Much of the grist for Rod­ne’s com­men­tary is pro­vid­ed by reac­tionary right wing author and colum­nist Pamela Geller. Rodne is so enam­ored with her that he is in the habit of post­ing videos and links she’s shared sev­er­al times a week.

Although Rodne told KCPQ that he believes “the vast major­i­ty of Mus­lims in the world are peace­ful and want noth­ing more than to live in peace with oth­er faiths”, his many Face­book posts demon­strate he is Islam­o­pho­bic. Here’s another:

These are the bar­bar­ians that we are up against. This is an exis­ten­tial threat–our very exis­tence as a civ­i­liza­tion is being threat­ened. Islam is incom­pat­i­ble with west­ern val­ues of tol­er­ance, per­son­al free­dom and respect for the rule of law. It is time for Amer­i­ca to wake up and con­front the real­i­ties of the chal­lenges that we face.

– Jay Rodne, Octo­ber 31, 2015, 3:01 PM

Notice here Rodne does­n’t both­er to dis­tin­guish between “the vast major­i­ty of Mus­lims” and the “small per­cent­age of that 1.5 bil­lion Mus­lim prac­ti­tion­ers who pre­scribe to a medieval inter­pre­ta­tion of their faith that com­mands them to com­mit acts of atroc­i­ty against our civ­i­liza­tion”. He instead false­ly says that Islam is “incom­pat­i­ble” with Amer­i­can val­ues. He’s wrong about that.

Rod­ne’s refusal to take back his com­ments in his KCPQ appear­ance prompt­ed the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to call for his imme­di­ate removal from the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee by the House Repub­li­can cau­cus, with Rodne sits on as the Rank­ing Mem­ber. (The Com­mit­tee is chaired by Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lau­rie Jink­ins of Taco­ma; its vice chair is Demo­c­rat Chris­tine Kilduff.)

“Jay Rod­ne’s big­ot­ed and Islam­o­pho­bic com­ments are just unac­cept­able, and some­one who holds these hate­ful views should not hold a cru­cial posi­tion of pow­er in Olympia” said Jamal Raad, Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor, in a state­ment sent to NPI. “The House Repub­li­cans are meet­ing right now for pre-ses­sion days and can change com­mit­tee assign­ments. The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty urges them to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to do the right thing and strip Jay Rodne of his lead­er­ship posi­tion on the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee. Tol­er­at­ing those kinds of harm­ful com­ments is just plain wrong.”

Adjacent posts

  • Enjoyed what you just read? Make a donation


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local politics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you and trust­ed spon­sors. We don’t run ads or pub­lish con­tent in exchange for money.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able to all by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy journalism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time donation

One Comment

  1. Mr. Raad is absolute­ly right.

    # by Gretchen Sand :: November 19th, 2015 at 5:34 PM