In what PennLive has described as a “bizarre turn”, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner released a couple minute Facebook live video this morning expressing his determination to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, while saying he’s going to “stomp all over” Wolf’s face with “golf spikes”.
The Facebook video from his campaign’s official page has since been taken down and deleted.
During the video, the GOP candidate was standing next to an anti-Wagner billboard with bundles of paychecks detailing his thoughts that Wolf is not the pro-small business candidate.
“Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6th, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes,” Wagner said, “because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania and we’re throwing you out of office,” according to the Post-Gazette.
Scott Wagner, standing next to six bundles of paychecks on the side of the road: “Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and Nov. 6th, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.” https://t.co/Lw3pcGIEMU
— Julian Routh (@julianrouth) October 12, 2018
Shortly thereafter, the Facebook live video went viral and garnered headlines from various national outlets.
The Wagner campaign says that specific comment was not meant to be taken literally.
“Scott’s comments were not to be taken literally. He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign,” said Andrew Romeo, campaign spokesman. “Tom Wolf has spent the entire race hiding behind false and negative attack ads like a coward instead of debating in front of the people of Pennsylvania and Scott will spend the last month of the race making it clear to voters why they should not give him a second term.”
During the rant, Wagner also called out Wolf for not engaging in more than one debate.
“You know what’s interesting? You don’t want to do town hall meetings,” Wagner says in the video according to PennLive. “You don’t want to do debates.”Your campaign people said I raised the white flag?”
The Wolf campaign believes this continues a pattern from their GOP opponent deeming him unfit for the job.
“Scott Wagner’s latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office,” said Karissa Hand, Wolf’s campaign Deputy Communications Director. “Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office. This is part of an unfortunate pattern with Scott Wagner.”
The billboard Wagner was standing beside criticized his management of Penn Waste. Wagner boasted about the work his employees provide and the benefits they receive.
“This is what 100 paychecks looks like,” Wagner said, picking up a bundle according to the Post-Gazette. “There are six bundles of these paychecks we issued today in my various companies. Six hundred paychecks today to hardworking employees who get great wages, great benefits and they have great health insurance.”
Wolf was asked about the comments during an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board and responded that he thinks he “wouldn’t like that.”
.@GovernorTomWolf was his typical restrained self at the @PhillyInquirer & @PhillyDailyNews editorial board meeting today when asked about @realScottWagner’s video threat to stomp him with golf cleats. “First of all, I think that would hurt. I don’t think I’d like that.” pic.twitter.com/7qvTBrIH3u
— Chris Brennan (@ByChrisBrennan) October 12, 2018
Later in the afternoon, Wagner released a new video explaining his “poor choice of words” during the Facebook Live video.
After explaining the policy differences between himself and Wolf, he said that he is passionate about the race.
“I’m very passionate,” Wagner says in the new video. “Don’t confuse anger with passion. I will continue to fight for the people of Pennsylvania, that’s why I made a decision to run to be the next Governor of Pennsylvania.”
The original comments from the Facebook live drew negative responses from Republicans as well, including House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La).
These comments are totally unacceptable. As I’ve said many times before, there is absolutely no place in our politics for this kind of rhetoric. https://t.co/7GgDITKGM9
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 12, 2018
Amidst the headlines from various national outlets covering the story such as CBS News, Washington Post, and USA Today; CNN’s story mistakenly placed a picture of Philadelphia sports host Michael Barkann alongside Gov. Tom Wolf.