Democracy Has Prevailed.

December 7, 2023

Um...Sen Mastriano? Anti-Semitism? Really?

Let's just start here

With a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas against Israel and recent reports of antisemitism on college campuses in Pennsylvania, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) is introducing legislation to end state taxpayer support for colleges or universities that enable antisemitism.

“State tax dollars should not be in effect subsidizing colleges and universities that enable antisemitic behavior,” Mastriano said. “My bill would end state taxpayer support for any Pennsylvania college or university that authorizes, facilitates or supports an event promoting antisemitism on campus.”

Mastriano’s bill would cut state funding for one year for any higher education institutions that participate in or otherwise support antisemitism.

While antisemitism in any form is morally reprehensible seeing something like this from PA State Senator Doug Mastriano is more than a little cringe-worthy.

First, he links to the ADL - the Anti-Defamation League - with seemingly little or no interest in some of the other things the ADL has reported.

Like this:

December 15, 2021

Gab CEO Andrew Torba claims he’s not an antisemite, but he tells a very different story via Gab’s Twitter feed and his personal Gab account. In October 2021, Torba engaged in multiple antisemitic tirades on Twitter and Gab, posting and sharing a wide array of bigoted content. These posts – which had the potential to reach millions of people via Gab’s 390,000 Twitter followers and Torba’s 3.3 million Gab followers – promoted a range of antisemitic tropes, such as Jews having dual loyalty to the U.S. and Israel, that Jews are to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus and that Jews control the U.S. government.

Gab, a self-described “free speech” platform, has a long history as a haven for antisemites, extremists and conspiracy theorists. Robert Bowers, the white supremacist who murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, made numerous antisemitic posts on his Gab account in the weeks prior to the shooting. Three years later, antisemitic content persists on the platform, easily accessible within just a few clicks. Well-known antisemites like David DukeRick Wiles and Nicholas Fuentes maintain an active presence on the site.

And why should I bring up Andrew Torba and Gab? 

Well, there's this:

Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, is facing bipartisan criticism for his ties to Gab, a far-right social media platform, and its founder Andrew Torba, over the rife antisemitic commentary that exists on the site. 


Mastriano has had a formal relationship with Torba and Gab since at least April, when Mastriano’s campaign paid Gab $5,000 for “consulting” services, according to state records first published by Media Matters for America, a left-leaning watchdog organization that has documented the relationship between Mastriano and Torba.  

This was more than 3 years after Robert Bowers slaughtered 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Bowers did so after posting some anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on, you guessed it, Andrew Torba's Gab.

But wait. There's more from the ADL:

According to Torba, the Gab founder’s public affiliation with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano began in May 2022, when Torba officially announced that Gab would be endorsing Mastriano and PA Senate candidate Kathy Barnette. Torba claimed that this announcement was a culmination of the work he has done over the past year in order to build “a coalition of Christian nationalists at the local and state levels.”

And what did Doug get for his five large?

Well, Rolling Stone has some info

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, appears to have paid the far-right platform Gab for followers. An investigation by Huffpost found that new accounts on the website automatically follow Doug Mastriano, exponentially increasing his follower count since he paid $5,000 in “consulting” fees to the platform in April. 

What sort of “consulting” Mastriano’s campaign received is unclear, but he is gaining an audience on the Nazi-loving platform. According to Huffpost, there are only seven accounts automatically followed by new users: Mastriano, Gab founder Andrew Torba, and a selection of right-wing media outlets. Since the payment was made in April, Mastriano’s follower base has grown from less than 3,000 to upwards of 37,000. 

After Doug's ties to Gab came to light, this happened:

On July 28, Mastriano responded to that criticism, attempting to distance himself from the site and its Christian nationalist founder, who said recently in a video that Christians are “done being controlled and being told what we’re allowed to do in our own country by a 2% minority.”

In a statement, Mastriano said Torba doesn’t speak for his campaign and he rejects antisemitism in any form. He said the recent criticism of his association with Gab was an attempt by Democrats to smear him and he attacked his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. 


In case you missed it, that "2% minority" controlling Christians "in our own country" is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory from Andrew Torba. Just in case you didn't know.

But let's step away from Gab and just look at Mastriano's relationship with Andrew Torba.

With this:

In July, following fierce criticism from Democrats and Jewish leaders, Republicans among them, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano issued a statement declaring that Andrew Torba, the self-styled Christian nationalist founder of the far-right social network Gab, "doesn't speak for me or my campaign."

Days earlier, however, Mastriano — who won the GOP nomination for governor with the backing of former President Donald Trump — accepted a $500 contribution from Torba, who has frequently posted antisemitic rants and declared Jews unwelcome in his far-right movement, per a campaign finance report released Tuesday and first reported by Politico's Holly Otterbein.

Did he ever return that five hundred bucks? Why did he accept it in the first place?

After learning all that, take another look at Doug's legislation.  

Laughable. Hypocritical. Typically Mastriano.