Doug Mastriano is under fire for supporting an anti-Semitic ally

Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, is under increasing scrutiny over his ties to the far-right social media platform Gab and its founder, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks to defend their ties.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Mr. Mastriano’s campaign had paid Gab, a haven for white nationalists and users banned from other platforms, $5,000 for “consulting,” according to a government document first revealed by Media Matters for America, a liberal. observation group.

Since then, Mr. Mastriano, a far-right state senator who falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen and who rarely speaks on traditional news outlets, has shrugged off criticism of his association with Gabe.

But the platform’s founder and CEO, Andrew Torba, hit back — most recently, using an anti-Jewish trope.

“We will no longer bow to 2 percent,” Mr. Torba said in a video this week, apparently referring to the rough percentage of the country that is Jewish.

Mr. Torba was responding to appearances on MSNBC on Tuesday by Jonathan Greenblatt, the executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, in which he criticized Mr. Mastriano for publishing gabi messages and seeking political supporters.

Mr. Torba and his platform support Christian nationalism, the view that America was founded to advance 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,” Mr. Goldblatt told MSNBC. “Elected officials who engage in this kind of rhetoric aren’t just flirting with fascism, they’re putting it at the forefront of their political argument.”

Shortly after the payment from Mastriano’s campaign, in April, Mr. Torba was interviewing Mr. Mastriano on his website, when the candidate told him: “Thank God for what you did.”

Ahead of Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary, Gabe endorsed Mr. Mastriano, who has spearheaded a Republican effort to overturn the state’s 2020 results.

Mr. Mastriano won the nomination in a split field, despite some Republican officials warning that he was too extreme to win in November. Recent polls show him in a surprisingly close race against Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro.

According to HuffPost, Mr. Mastriano may be paying Gabe to increase his following on the site: New users appear to be automatically assigned as followers of the Republican candidate.

In a series of live videos in recent days, Mr. Torba, who lives in Pennsylvania, has repeatedly responded to criticism of him and Mr. Mastriano by asserting his own Christian nationalist and anti-Semitic views.

The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday quoted Mr. Torba as saying in a video that neither he nor Mr. Mastriano would give interviews to non-Christian journalists.

“It’s my policy not to do interviews with journalists who aren’t Christians or with channels that aren’t Christians, and Doug has a very similar media strategy where he doesn’t interview those people,” Mr Torba said. “He doesn’t talk to these people. It does not give press access to these people. These people are dishonest. They are liars. They are dens of vipers and they want to destroy you.”

Mr. Mastriano did not respond to a request for comment sent to his campaign.

Asked for details of his consulting arrangement with Mr. Mastriano, Mr. Torba responded by email: “I only talk to Christian news outlets.”

Republican and Democratic Jewish leaders alike are calling on Mr. Mastriano to leave Gabi. “We strongly urge Doug Mastriano to end his association with Gab, a social network that Jewish Americans rightly view as a hotbed of bigotry and anti-Semitism,” Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told The Philadelphia Inquirer last week.

In Pittsburgh, Jewish and black leaders condemned Mr. Mastriano for his association with GAB, which was used to publish anti-Semitic attacks by the man accused of killing 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018.

Mr. Shapiro, the state attorney general, opened an investigation into Gabby after the murders, but eventually dropped it.

On Monday, Mr. Shapiro, who is Jewish, appealed to donors on Twitter to “stop” Mr. Mastriano, who he said “pays Gab — the same platform that authorized the Tree of Life killer — thousands of dollars to recruit anti-Semites. and white supremacists in his campaign.”

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