ICYMI: Philadelphia Inquirer: Mastriano Shows No Signs of Moving Toward Center
Mastriano is “Sticking to His Preferred Brand of Politics” In the First Month of the General Election — Making Comparisons to Nazi Germany and Surrounding Himself with Dangerous Conspiracy Theorists Like Jenna Ellis and Steve Bannon
Doug Mastriano “has little interest in moderating his gubernatorial campaign” as he “largely shun[s] traditional news media” — quite literally running away from them — and sticks “to his MAGA playbook in the general election,” as new reporting by The Philadelphia Inquirer details:
- He went on the podcast hosted by former Donald Trump aide and “Stop the Steal” leader Steve Bannon.
- He named a former Trump campaign lawyer who tried to overturn Pennsylvania’s election a top legal adviser to his campaign.
- He has twice drawn parallels to Nazi Germany in criticizing political opponents.
- And just last week, Mastriano shared a meme on social media accusing Gov. Tom Wolf and other Democrats of “premeditated murder” over their COVID-19 policies for nursing homes.
Mastriano has doubled down on his extreme agenda — including celebrating the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, having called banning abortion with no exceptions his “number one issue,” claiming Roe is “so much” worse than the Holocaust and saying “my body, my choice is ridiculous nonsense.” Furthermore, Mastriano has called for jailing medical professionals for performing abortions.
In case you missed it, check out the Inquirer’s new reporting on Republicans’ far-right extremist Mastriano and his determination to “stick to his preferred brand of politics” — dangerous and wildly out-of-touch conspiracy theories, devastating all-out abortion bans, and election lies.
He went on the podcast hosted by former Donald Trump aide and “Stop the Steal” leader Steve Bannon.
He named a former Trump campaign lawyer who tried to overturn Pennsylvania’s election a top legal adviser to his campaign.
He has twice drawn parallels to Nazi Germany in criticizing political opponents.
And just last week, Doug Mastriano shared a meme on social media accusing Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and other Democrats of “premeditated murder” over their COVID-19 policies for nursing homes.
But in the five weeks since he won the May 17 primary election, Mastriano has also been sticking to the playbook that has made him a MAGA hero — making inflammatory comments about Democrats and the left, and amplifying Trump’s false election fraud claims.
After an interviewer compared investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack to the Nazis’ crackdown on civil liberties in the aftermath of the 1933 fire at the German Parliament, Mastriano said he agreed.
“I agree with the political, with the historical analogy there … using something that was very suspicious in Berlin to advance their agenda — you know, the National Socialists there. I do see parallels,” Mastriano told podcast host Ben Stein on June 10, after the Jan. 6 congressional committee held its first public hearing on prime-time television.
“We have, you know, people being publicly arrested for show to send a message,” said Mastriano, who was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and has been subpoenaed by the committee. “I think what we’re seeing in America now makes McCarthy in the ’50s look like an amateur.”
Mastriano, who faces a huge cash deficit, has not started airing television ads in the general election. Outside Republican groups remain on the sidelines.
And Mastriano has shunned interviews with traditional news organizations such as newspapers and local television stations that most politicians pursue to reach the broader electorate. Instead, Mastriano has preferred to communicate directly with supporters on Facebook and given interviews with some friendly conservative outlets.
“You can’t ignore the mainstream media. … You’ve gotta reach across all venues,” said Jackie Kulback, chair of the Cambria County GOP, noting that there are some 540,000 more registered Democrats in Pennsylvania than Republicans. “Limiting yourself just to conservative media, you’re going to miss the voters you need to win in the general.”
Mastriano’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Mastriano seems unlikely to change his focus. Earlier this month, he announced his campaign had brought on former Trump lawyer and Rudy Giuliani associate Jenna Ellis as a senior legal adviser — even as the Jan. 6 congressional committee held hearings featuring sworn testimony from former top Trump aides contradicting election fraud lies.
Giuliani, for his part, on Friday called Mastriano a “hero” for convening a November 2020 legislative gathering on election grievances and praised him for standing up to “RINOs” — so-called Republicans in name only.
“This comes along once in a generation when you get a real reformer, a Ronald Reagan or a Donald Trump or a me, who actually comes in and changes government,” Giuliani said at a campaign event in New York with Mastriano and Giuliani’s son, Andrew, who’s running for governor in that state.
And in an interview with the Epoch Times, Mastriano reiterated his plan to require all 9 million registered Pennsylvania voters to reregister: “I think that’s the best way to start restoring confidence in voting in our state.”
Constitutional scholars have said the idea flouts federal law.
At the same time, there are signs of tepid support in some corners of the GOP. While the entire Pennsylvania Republican congressional delegation issued a statement this month endorsing Republican Mehmet Oz in the U.S. Senate race, there has been no such statement about Mastriano.
Some of his remarks have caused discomfort among other Republicans on the ballot. After Mastriano doubled down on comparing U.S. gun-control efforts to Adolf Hitler’s policies in Nazi Germany, U.S. House Democrats’ campaign arm issued a news release asking whether Republican congressional candidates agreed with the statement.
An official with Republican Lisa Scheller’s campaign in the competitive 7th District, where Democrat Susan Wild is the incumbent, reached out to Mastriano’s campaign after the episode, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Scheller campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Shapiro’s campaign is expected to announce support from current and former elected Pennsylvania Republicans in the coming weeks, according to a source familiar with plans.
And several Republican insiders said they expect at least some GOP donors in Southeastern Pennsylvania to back Shapiro. William Sasso, a Republican donor and former chairman of the Philadelphia-based law firm Stradley Ronon, recently held a fund-raiser for Shapiro. Shapiro is a former counsel at the firm. Sasso said he admires Shapiro’s “judgment, integrity, and his commitment to the citizens of the Commonwealth.”