Doug Mastriano, the Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate, is under scrutiny for his ties to the far-right social platform Gab and its founder, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks in defense of his ties.
Earlier this month, news broke that Mr. Mastriano’s campaign paid Gab, a haven for white nationalists and users banned from other platforms, $5,000 for “advice”. by state request it was first revealed by liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America.
Since then, Mr. Mastriano, a far-right state senator who falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen and who rarely speaks to mainstream news outlets, has shrugged off criticism of his association with Gab.
But the platform’s founder and CEO, Andrew Torba, has struck back — most recently, using an anti-Jewish cliché.
“We no longer kneel to the 2 percent,” he said. Torba said in a video this week, clearly alluding to the approximate percentage of the country’s population that is inhabited by Jews.
mr. Torba replied to appearance on MSNBC on Tuesday by Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, in which he criticized Mr. Mastriano for using Gab to post messages and gain political supporters.
mr. Torba and its platform support Christian nationalismthe belief that America was founded to promote Christians and biblical values.
“We are taking back our country,” he added. “We’re taking back our government, so deal with it.”
“Andrew Torba is one of the most toxic people in public life right now. Goldblatt told MSNBC. “Elected officials using this kind of rhetoric are not just flirting with fascism, they are bringing it to the forefront of their political arguments.”
Shortly after paying for Mastriano’s campaign, in April, mr. Torba interviewed G. Mastriano on his website when a candidate told him, “Praise God for what you’ve done.”
Before the May 17 Pennsylvania primary, Gab endorsed Mr. Mastriano, who was at the forefront Republican efforts to reverse the state’s 2020 results.
mr. Mastriano won the nomination in a divided field despite warnings from some Republican officials that he was too extreme to win in November. Recent polls have shown him leading an unexpectedly close race against Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro.
According to a message from HuffPost, mr. Mastriano can pay Gabe to increase the number of subscribers on the site: it seemed that new users were automatically appointed followers of the Republican candidate.
In a series of videos that have been broadcast live over the past few days, Mr. Torba, based in Pennsylvania, has repeatedly responded to criticism of himself and Mr. Mastriano by reinforcing his own Christian nationalist and anti-Semitic views.
Jerusalem Post Tuesday quoted Mr. Torba said in one video that neither he nor Mr. Mastriano had been interviewed by non-Christian journalists.
“My policy is not to interview non-Christian reporters or non-Christian media, and Doug has a very similar media strategy of not interviewing those people.” , – he said. Torba reports. “He doesn’t talk to these people. He doesn’t give the press access to these people. These people are dishonest. They are liars. This is a den of snakes and they want to destroy you.”
mr. Mastriano did not respond to a request for comment sent to his campaign staff.
mr. Torba asked the details of his consultation arrangement with Mr. Mastriano and replied by email: “I only deal with Christian news outlets.”
Both Republican and Democratic Jewish leaders called on Mr. Mastriano to leave Gab. “We strongly urge Doug Mastriano to cut his association with Gab, a social networking site that American Jews rightly consider a cesspool of bigotry and anti-Semitism,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Jewish Republican Coalition. told The Philadelphia Inquirer last week.
in Pittsburgh Jewish and Black Leaders Condemn Mr. Mastriano for his association with Gab, which was used to publish anti-Semitic attacks by a man accused of killing 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.
mr. Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, launched an investigation into Gab after the murders, but eventually dropped it.
On Monday, Mr. Shapiro, who is Jewish, tweeted to donors to “stop” Mr. Mastriano, who he says is “paying Gab — the same platform that commissioned the Tree of Life killer — thousands of dollars to recruit anti-Semites and white supremacists into their campaign.”