Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer spoke at a “We the People” rally, organized by the Klickitat County Republican Party, where he blamed the protests in Portland and Seattle and the law enforcement response on “left-winging, spineless politicians that buy into changing our country to a socialist country.”

“…That’s the master plan. Take it to the bank,” Songer said to a crowd of around a hundred people at the Eddieville Motorsports Park in Centerville Saturday morning.

Standing atop a trailer bed donned in American and “thin blue line” flags, Songer followed speeches by Goldendale Mayor Mike Canon, in which he discussed “how socialism really works” based on his experience work- ing for the USDA in post-Soviet Budapest; Pastor Tom Spithaler, who railed against the closing of churches by Gov. Jay Inslee, even after President Trump ordered that they open; and Matthew Hayward of Olympia-based think tank Freedom Foundation, who argued for “right-to-work” laws for public employees in the state of Washington.

At least a hundred people showed up to the rally. With social distancing, at least a few people in attendance wore masks. Agents of the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office watched over the rally.

“Government will always find a crisis, if they don’t have one, they’ll invite one,” Songer said. “What’s going on in our state alone, in Seattle, and in our neighboring state, in Oregon, in Portland, is absolute criminal, absolute criminal and I can tell you there wouldn’t have been a day in the old days that would not have happened,” he continued.

Songer asserted the Black Lives Matter movement is a “Marxist, Socialist, Communist organization and it’s tied to Antifa, and we all know what Antifa is, and these people are even paid to protest and do damage,” Songer said.

“There’s a master plan to overthrow our government and change it from a constitutional government to a socialist government,” he continued without any evidence to back up such claims. “It’ll be a cold day in Hell before I allow that to happen and I know you patriots will not allow that to happen. If they come to our county and start that crap, I’ll guarantee you they’re not going to like the results. They will be thrown in jail and I will use high-pressure fire hoses from the fire department, and we’ll use every means we’ve got to put them down and put them down hard,” Songer said to applause from the crowd. He then affirmed his responsibility for the protection of citizen’s freedom of speech.

“If they want to come and protest, that’s their constitutional right under the First Amendment and I honor that. I will not bother them and will allow them, and even guard them for their safety to protest, regardless what group it is,” Songer continued.

Such claims that the national Black Lives Matter organization is Marxist, Communist, or Socialist (each of which having different meanings) have been appearing more frequently in local Facebook groups. One question to local candidates at the Goldendale Sentinel editorial board meeting earlier this month posed, “Based on the stated goals and observable evidence of Black Lives Matter, at this time will you go on record whether or not you personally view this group as a violent Communist organization?”

A highly edited video resurfaced with one of the co-founders of the original Black Lives Matter organization citing herself as a “trained Marxist” made its rounds in the national media a month ago and has been oft cited when assertions like this arise. However, Songer made no attempt to back up his claim.

Songer said he has been faced with death threats since the onset of the political unrest surrounding law enforcement. “Actually I take that as a badge of honor,” Songer said regarding one email he received telling him to commit suicide.

Wrapping up the speech, Songer heralded his usual refrain about protecting citizen’s first and second amendment rights and concluded by telling the crowd “pull your head out of the sand.”

“We are currently heading for war right now, and if we don’t think we are, we’re missing the boat,” Songer said. “There’s a master plan to overthrow this constitution, to overthrow this country to make it a socialist country, and we are not any way, shape or form going to allow that to happen.”

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