Doug Mastriano condemned for ties to an anti-Semitic website that hosted synagogue shooter
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano gives a victory speech at his election-night party at The Orchards on May 17, 2022 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. - Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America/TNS

On Thursday, CNN reported that far-right Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is facing a fresh wave of bipartisan criticism — this time, for his ties to an infamous alt-right social network that hosted the perpetrator of an anti-Semitic terrorist attack in Pittsburgh.

Specifically, Mastriano has a close relationship with Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab — a site that has become infamous as a haven for white supremacist and anti-Semitic extremism.

"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," reported Dan Merica. "Following his campaign's payment to Gab, Mastriano -- who rarely speaks with reporters from traditional media outlets -- sat down for an interview with Torba and lauded the site founder, telling him, 'Thank God for what you've done.'"

Matthew Brooks, director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, fiercely condemned Mastriano's involvement with Gab: "Jewish voters expect candidates to condemn antisemitism whether it comes from the far left or the far right — and to shun those who espouse it. We strongly urge Doug Mastriano to end his association with Gab, a social network rightly seen by Jewish Americans as a cesspool of bigotry and antisemitism."

"Gab, founded in 2016, brands itself as the 'free speech social network' and has grown in popularity with conservatives, alt-right figures and some extremists as a counter to more traditional social media spaces such as Twitter and Facebook," noted the report. "The site's lax approach to content management has made it a haven for QAnon conspiracy theories, misinformation and antisemitic commentary."

Most infamously, Gab played host to Robert Bowers, the man who perpetrated the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Prior to that attack, Bowers, who had posted numerous anti-Semitic screeds, announced on the platform that he was "going in." Immediately after that incident, investors pulled funding from the site and the web host shut it down, but it went live again a few days later.

"Representatives for Mastriano did not respond to CNN's requests for comment," noted the report. "And the Republican Governors Association responded with a broad statement on the race that did not address Mastriano's relationship with Gab."

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