Mastriano tries to distance himself from the founder of anti-Semitic technology

After facing heavy criticism for allying with anti-Semitic social media platform founder Gab and paying Gab $5,000 for “campaign advice,” far-right Pennsylvania candidate Doug Mastriano, tried to distance himself from the site on Thursday.

The Mastriano campaign’s Gab account appears to have been deleted on Thursday. And in a statement, Mastriano said site founder Andrew Torba “doesn’t speak for me” before saying Democrats and the media were using the story as a distraction.

“Andrew Torba does not speak for me or for my campaign. I reject anti-Semitism in all its forms. The recent smears by Democrats and the media are blatant attempts to distract Pennsylvanians from the suffering inflicted by Democratic policies,” Mastriano wrote:.

Then, a strange aside.

“While extremist speech is an unfortunate but inevitable cost of living in a free society, extremist politics are not,” Mastriano said, before attacking his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The statement didn’t really address some key elements of the story. His campaign paid Gab $5,000 for “campaign advice” earlier this year, in what – reported appears to be an agreement that every new user on the platform would automatically follow the campaign account.

For his part, Torba denied in an article by Gab on Thursday that he was a Mastriano campaign consultant, but confirmed, “The campaign paid Gab as a company for advertising during the primary.”

“I stand by everything I said about Christian nationalism as an explicitly Christian movement,” Torba added. “It should be obvious by the name. Others are certainly welcome to support the movement and enjoy the fruits of Christian leadership and culture, but we need candidates, leaders, thinkers, influencers, culture warriors and builders who believe in Jesus Christ and follow him.

Elsewhere, Torba was more explicit about his view of the Jews.

“We are building a parallel Christian society because we are fed up and tired of the Judeo-Bolshevik society,” he said on Twitter last year. And more recently, in response to coverage of his ties to Mastriano: “We don’t want atheist people. We don’t want Jewish people. We don’t want people who are, you know, non-believers, agnostics, whatever.

Tuesday, Torba saidapparently referring to American Jews, “we no longer bend the knee to the 2%.”

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