On Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, has deleted over a dozen Facebook videos from his page in recent weeks as he begins his general election campaign -- many of them espousing conspiracy theories or controversial views.
"The removed videos include freewheeling discussions in which Mastriano predicts that this November’s election will be marred by Democratic voter fraud; accuses Republicans who don’t support him of looking down on veterans; and calls the fight against abortion 'the most important issue of our lifetime,'" reported William Bender. In another video, Mastriano called climate change "ridiculous" and just a "theory" based on "pop science."
"Before this latest batch of deletions, Mastriano removed potentially problematic or controversial posts, including tweets promoting the Qanon conspiracy theory, as well as videos in which he called local faith leaders 'cowards'; acknowledged his COVID diagnosis while visiting the White House; and feuded with GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg," said the report. "Mastriano’s Senate website has also been scrubbed of a plan he pitched during the early days of the pandemic to lift medical privacy restrictions so the government could disclose the names and locations of people infected with COVID-19."
Mastriano, who won a decisive primary victory against a crowded field, has attracted scrutiny for his presence at the Capitol on January 6, as well as his ties to a cult-like church known as the "Rod of Iron Ministries" that believes the AR-15 is sacred.
In recent weeks, the GOP has seen divides over whether to even support him, with some Pennsylvania Republicans even forming a PAC to support Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro.
"Two Facebook Live videos he recorded in April and May — both since deleted — would probably not further his goal of building new relationships with Republican leaders," noted the report. "In them, Mastriano repeatedly lashes out at a 'corrupt' GOP establishment, and puts forth a novel theory: that Republicans in Pennsylvania were working against him in the primary because they hate veterans."