And Then There's Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania's Craziest Politician
As we noted a few days ago, plutocrat Glenn Youngkin's gubernatorial campaign in Virginia is already a mess. That's because Glenn Youngkin is a mess and because plutocrats don't belong in elections. It sounds like he may be taking strategic advice from Señor Trumpanzee!
Reporting for the Washington Post this yesterday, Laura Vozzella wrote that crucial Virginia Bar Association debate will be missing one Glenn Youngkin, who has backed out on the flimsiest of pretexts. What he's decided to skip is, she wrote, "typically the premier debate of the Virginia governor's race, saying he objects to the moderator, PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff, because she once donated $250 to the Clinton Foundation's Haitian earthquake relief fund." How pathetic is that?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Republican Party, 2021! "By refusing to square off with Democrat Terry McAuliffe at the Virginia Bar Association debate later this month," reported Vozzella, "the political newcomer and former Carlyle Group executive is breaking with a 36-year tradition. Every aspiring Virginia governor has participated in the VBA debate since 1985." Youngkin tried to use the faux controversy to pressure Woodruff into letting him decide some of the questions she would ask! CEOs are a bad fit for democracies.
Woodruff donated $250 in 2010 to the foundation’s Haitian earthquake relief program, at the time led by two former presidents-- Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush. Its formal name was the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Woodruff has moderated several VBA debates for governor and U.S. Senate in the years since.
...NewsHour executive producer Sara Just called Youngkin’s objections to Woodruff “outrageous.”
“Judy’s donation to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund was in response to bipartisan call by fmr prezs Clinton & George W. Bush in 2010 for relief for Haiti following devastating earthquake. Seeing it thru any other lens is completely misleading,” Just tweeted. “And it should go without saying, Judy-- over the course of her distinguished career-- has never donated to a politician or any political party.”
McAuliffe, a former governor seeking a second term, has agreed to participate in five debates. Youngkin has said he is willing to do up to three.
“Glenn Youngkin has spent his campaign embracing Donald Trump and trying to hide his true views from Virginia voters, so it’s no surprise he does not have the courage to face me at this debate and answer questions just as every Republican and Democratic nominee for governor has done since 1985,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
Virginia isn't the only state with an unfortunate Trumpist gubernatorial candidate. The Pennsylvania has a much crazier hopeful leading the pack of nominees, state Senator Doug Mastriano, a QAnon-devotee and all around conspiracy theory whackadoodle. Last week Media Matters took a closer look at Gov. Tom Wolf's likely 2022 opponent. "Mastriano," wrote Eric Hananoki, "is a Republican who has been in office since June 2019. He is leading an effort in Pennsylvania to conduct a supposed 'forensic investigation' of the state’s election results. The plan comes in the wake of the fraudulent “audit” that’s being done in Arizona by Republicans and championed by right-wing media. Mastriano is also a frequent guest on One America News, Newsmax and Steve Bannon’s program. Media Matters previously documented that he’s used his Facebook page to share false anti-vaccines claims and that he repeatedly used violent rhetoric on right-wing programming ahead of the January 6 Capitol insurrection. (Mastriano himself was at the insurrection.)"
He has also associated himself with the QAnon movement, including appearing on QAnon programs. A QAnon-affiliated conference listed Mastriano as an attendee, but a spokesperson later claimed to The Philadelphia Inquirer that he “never committed to speak at this event.” The spokesperson also said that Mastriano "strongly condemns the ‘Q anon’ conspiracy theory.”
Mastriano was even more involved with the movement: In 2018, Mastriano posted at least 51 tweets with the hashtag “QAnon,” according to a Media Matters search.
Those posts were about a variety of topics, including two Ben Garrison cartoons that promote the Pizzagate conspiracy theory by picturing former Clinton adviser John Podesta with a slice of pizza. He also attached the QAnon-affiliated slogan “TheGreatAwakening” to several posts.