Mastriano Deletes Gab Account; Puts Distance Between Him and Torba

Doug Mastriano

“I reject anti-Semitism in any form. Recent smears by the Democrats and the media are blatant attempts to distract Pennsylvanians from suffering inflicted by Democrat policies.”

That statement from GOP candidate for governor Doug Mastriano comes in response to criticisms over his payment to Gab — the social media site described by the Anti-Defamation League as a “haven for extremists, conspiracy theorists and misinformation” – and his association with the site’s founder, Andrew Torba.

Torba has courted the state senator from Franklin County and has had Mastriano on videos on the site talking about his positions and his campaign. Mastriano paid $5,000 to Gab in April, a sum that Torba said was for an advertising campaign, WESA reported earlier this month.

“Andrew Torba does not speak for me or my campaign,” tweeted Mastriano on Thursday. He also deleted his Gab account.

The candidate’s association with Gab and Christian nationalists – as well as his beliefs that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump – has offended many Jewish and Democratic voters. It has also put GOP leaders, especially Jewish ones, on the defensive – should they support, condemn or distance themselves from the GOP gubernatorial nominee?

Mastriano had posted at least 60 times on Gab since joining in February, WESA reported — and of 157 comments from users responding to his posts, at least two dozen were antisemitic insults about his Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish.

Doug Mastriano’s deep support for Andrew Torba and Gab goes so far that he has literally thanked god for Torba’s efforts to bring racist, antisemitic extremism into our communities – the very extremism that motivated the Tree of Life murderer, who used Torba’s platform moments before killing 11 Jewish people in Pittsburgh,” said Shapiro. “His refusal to denounce Gab and the virulent hatred his campaign is founded on is simply further proof that he is far too dangerous to be Governor of Pennsylvania.”

In an interview with Torba posted to Gab in May, Mastriano thanked him for providing a space for conservative voices like his own. Torba warned during the interview, “You may even get called a smear for doing this interview with me. So brace yourself for that,” the outlet reported.

In a recent livestreamed video, Torba also said, “My policy is not to conduct interviews with reporters who aren’t Christian or with outlets who aren’t Christian, and Doug has a very similar media strategy where he does not do interviews with these people,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

“As a Jew and as an American, I am alarmed that there’s a nominee for one of America’s major political parties that espouses hatred towards other people and other members of the Commonwealth,” Rabbi Seth Frisch of the New Shul of America in Rydal, Pennsylvania, said in an interview.

Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, has expressed concern that Mastriano’s campaign “unfortunately seems intent on sending a message of exclusion” to Jewish voters and had called on the candidate to end his association with Gab. Brooks didn’t immediately respond to a question from Forward as to whether Mastriano’s move on Thursday to distance himself from Gab was sufficient.

updated to include statement from Shapiro.

4 Responses

  1. Ding Dong Doug is a radical Insurrectionist and his actions over many years have proven his TRUE philosophy. He’s not planning to be a Governor who will unite us, but rather a one person wreaking crew who believes he has sole power. Unfortunately, Republicans in Harrisburg and Washington believe servitude to ONE in the executive branch is what the Founding Fathers intended. Trump and Ding Dong Doug are both enemies of our government and should be treated as such – THERE ACTIONS ARE PROOF.

  2. The actual truth is that Mastriano holds extremist views unlike 85% of regular Pennsylvanians. Most people in PA have moderate beliefs even if they share religious values. Mastriano’s camp hopes to create a Christian nation and that is a threat to all Christians let alone other religious groups. The Founders of our nation established the separation of church and state because they remembered how the Kings of England forced the people to adopt state versions of Christianity. There are hundreds of Christian denominations….and they all disagree on fundamental dogma….which version would these nationalists force upon the people of PA? We know they have spoken out against Catholics, Unitarians, and Lutherans already. We know they reject Jewish and Islamic peoples. The silent majority in PA does not support this Mastriano. They make a claim to freedom but they actually want to force you into adopting their beliefs above all else.

  3. Your column well notes the serious problem Mastriano has with being buddies with groups that think Christianity is the only way to go. How any Republican donor can cozy up to Mastriano who cozied up to these extreme right wing Christian groups is beyond me. Look, we are who we hang around with and support. How you can give $5000 to GAB and say you do not support GAB is an intellectual logistical pretzel of a position. Clearly, Mastriano is not ready for prime time politics.

  4. This is a hollow effort on Ding Dong Doug’s part. he’s already earned the extremist, antisemitic label by virtue of utilizing Gab for so-called “consulting” services.

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