Doug Mastriano, a Christian nationalism-promoting election conspiracy theorist who won the Republican Party’s gubernatorial primary in May, has come under fire for his ties to Andrew Torba, the antisemitic Christian nationalist founder of the far-right social media platform Gab.
Since its founding, Gab has been a haven for antisemites, white nationalists, and other bigots who have been kicked off of Twitter and other mainstream social media platforms, creating a cesspool so toxic that even MAGA cultist Bill Mitchell abandoned the platform after growing tired of dealing with its “large white supremacist, bigotry community.”
Mastriano, by contrast, has no such qualms about courting that community; he spent $5,000 promoting his campaign on the platform and has even been interviewed by Torba himself. For his part, Torba has been a vocal supporter of Mastriano, penning a column last week in which he declared that “Christians need to be supporting Doug Mastriano.”
On Friday, Democrat Josh Shapiro, who is running against Mastriano for governor in Pennsylvania, appeared on MSNBC to discuss Mastriano’s ties to Gab, which prompted Torba to hold a livestream response in which he repeatedly made his Christian nationalism explicitly clear.
“We are going to build a coalition of Christian nationalists, of Christians, of Christian candidates at the state, local, and federal levels, and we’re gonna take this country back for the glory of God,” Torba declared. “[Mastriano] is our guy, and this is Pennsylvania’s guy, and he’s going to turn this state around for the glory of God. And that is the mission here, folks.”
“This isn’t a big tent,” Torba continued. “This is a Christian movement, full stop. The only way that we’re going to gain any ground in the culture, in the government, in taking our towns, our cities, our states, our counties in our country back is by putting Jesus Christ first. It’s just that simple. There’s no other way. There’s no other path.”
Torba dismissed right-wing activists like Dave Rubin, who is gay, and Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish, saying there is no reason that people like that should be leaders in the conservative movement.
“These people aren’t conservative,” he said. “They’re not Christian. They don’t share our values. They have inverted values from us as Christians. So don’t fall for the bait. Don’t fall for the bait of Populism Inc. Don’t fall for the bait of this pseudo-conservatism, big tent nonsense. This is a Christian movement, and this movement needs to be centered on the gospel and truth of God’s word and of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and King. That is the only way that this is going to work.”
“Now that the media is attacking Christian nationalism, they’re attacking Jesus Christ, and that is a very bad move,” Torba warned. “We are going to take back this country for the glory of God. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country. From its founding, throughout its entire history, it has been an explicitly Christian country, and people are starting to remember that, and that needs to be the focal point of this movement.”
“That is how we are going to win,” Torba proclaimed. “The entire platform is centered around God’s word, is centered around putting Jesus Christ first again, in our schools, in our culture, in our homes, in our media, in our entertainment, in our news, everything.”
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RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
‘Lowest Common Denominator’: Trump Refuses to Denounce White Supremacist He Dined With Despite Advisers’ Urgings
It’s been nearly a week since Donald Trump had dinner at his home at Mar-a-Lago with antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and yet he continues to refuse to denounce him or his extremist views.
Multiple advisers have urged Trump to denounce Fuentes, who has a long history of promoting white supremacism, but he has been “rejecting” their advice “over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said.”
Fuentes, according to Trump, came to dinner at the behest of Kanye West, the former president’s invited dinner guest. He says the disgraced artist did not tell him in advance he was bringing “friends.” In addition to Fuentes, those friends reportedly include Milo Yiannopoulos, who has advocated for older men having sex with young teen boys, and Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
West has also been increasingly viewed as antisemitic, especially after threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people.” That remark “conveyed a clear violence to many who saw it,” The Times of Israel reported last month.
Trump has a long history of refusing to denounce white supremacists and white nationalists. His refusal to denounce former KKK leader David Duke, when still a presidential candidate in 2016, has become an infamously defining moment for Trump.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with ‘white supremacy’ or ‘white supremacists,’” Trump insisted. “I know nothing about white supremacists.”
“I have to look at the group,” Trump continued, when asked he would condemn white supremacists and say he does not want their vote. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about?”
That’s extremely similar to Trump’s initial response when news broke he had dined with Fuentes.
Trump on his Truth Social platform described the white supremacist as someone “whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”
On MSNBC Monday morning, Politico’s Jonathan Lemire noted, “this strain of white nationalism is becoming more central to what today’s Republican Party is about.” He added that Trump is “trying to play to the lowest common denominator to try and keep some supporters in check.”
Fuentes is not just a white supremacist, a white Christian nationalist, a Holocaust “denier,” and a supporter of authoritarianism – along with holding other extremist views. He is a political commentator who has a large following and is seen as the head of a white supremacist movement. Fuentes is also the founder of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), a white nationalism alternative to the already extremist Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) last year warned Fuentes is “a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”
But ADL also notes Fuentes “promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests,” and “served as an organizer and speaker at many ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” which may be yet another reason Trump has refused to denounce him.
Watch: NBC Reporter Urges ‘Come to Jesus Moment’ for Media in Wake of Colorado Springs Anti-LGBTQ Mass Shooting
NBC News’ senior reporter Ben Collins is calling for media outlets to have a “come to Jesus moment” – a dose of reality in order to make a major change – in the wake of the Colorado Springs hate crime mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub, Club Q, that left five people dead. A clip of his segment is going viral, with many agreeing the media needs to do a better job.
On MSNBC Tuesday morning, Collins, who covers what he calls the “dystopia beat,” meaning extremism, noted he’s been reporting on far-right extremism and its attacks on the LGBTQ community for months, apparently suggesting his articles were a warning.
“I do you want to say though, am I doing something wrong here?” Collins asked rhetorically, as if to suggest another anti-LGBTQ mass shooting hate crime had only been a matter of time.
“Here are some headlines that I wrote the last six months,” he said, reading them off.
“‘Fueled by parents far right machine anti-LGBTQ threats shut down trans rights and drag events.’ Remember,” Collins said after his voice initially appeared to crack, “there was a drag event happening to Colorado,” at Club Q the night of the mass shooting.
“‘Anti-trans stalkers at Kiwi Farms,’ which is an anti-trans website that stalks people, ‘are chasing one victim around the world. Their list of targets is growing,’ – that was a couple months ago,” Collins added.
“‘Doctors under threat from far right activists for providing trans care.’ ‘Boston Children’s Hospital faces bomb threat after right-wing harassment campaign’ – there were three of those bomb threats. ‘FBI charges Massachusetts woman with Boston Children’s Hospital bomb threats’ – so they found one of the people. ‘At least 20 Republican politicians have claimed that schools are making accommodations for students who identify as cats.’ That was before the midterms.”
“Here are three more from my colleagues in the last three weeks,” Collins continued, reading those headlines. “‘As election nears some conservative groups have ramped up anti-trans campaign ads.’ ‘Far right figures appear to be testing Twitter’s boundaries for anti-LGBTQ speech.’ ‘GOP senator targets Tiktok influencer with anti-transgender taunt.'”
After reading the headlines, Collins posed the question important for all journalists.
“And I’m just wondering, what could I have done different? Seriously, as reporters what can we do different? Because there are five dead people in a strip mall – because that was the only place they felt safe, as gay or trans people in this town in Colorado Springs.”
“And I am trying to thread this needle here. I’m trying to say that this is happening. This targeted stuff has real life impacts,” he continued.
“And I’m going to fail by the way, I’m going to freak out because it’s happening. Because I wake up and I see that there are five dead bodies. But I think we have to have a come to Jesus moment here, as reporters. Are we more afraid of being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive? Or are we more afraid of the dead people? Because I’m more afraid of the dead people. I don’t want to wake up on a Sunday and see that all these headlines came to fruition.”
On Twitter Collins says this is “an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters.”
I talked this morning about an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters:
What are you more afraid of? Being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive?
Or are you more afraid of waking up to the news of more dead people? pic.twitter.com/1B4FqNrZSQ
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 22, 2022
Saying, “Thank you, Ben Collins,” Shannon Minter, the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), commented: “Reporters & media outlets have a responsibility not to lend fuel to dangerous political attacks on vulnerable minorities—including by stories like recent pieces by Reuters & the NYT that deliberately stoke fears & misconceptions about transgender kids.”
Watch the Collins’ clip above, the full MSNBC segment below, or both at this link.
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