Doug Mastriano, the Pennsylvania state senator who’s a leading contender for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, ended an interview Wednesday after being asked about his promotion of the Big Lie and attendance at the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol attack.
Mastriano’s interview with the Delaware Valley Journal podcast ended with Michael Graham, an editor for the publication, asking Mastriano, “How do you plan to handle, as the Republican candidate, the issue of your claim that the election was stolen?”
But the candidate didn’t answer. He’d hung up mid-question after commenting, “All I hear from you is nonsense.”
“I guess that question would have been better waiting for the end, huh?” chuckled Linda Stein, the Valley Journal’s news editor.
The exchange capped a nearly 20-minute interview that grew contentious about halfway through. Graham noted an April event Mastriano attended — featuring conspiracy theories about such topics as 9/11, Hitler’s death and child sacrifice — and Jan. 6, for which Mastriano organized a bus trip.
“What do you think happened on Jan. 6, and what should the right response have been to that?” Graham asked.
But the candidate wasn’t having it, calling the question “disingenuous” and asking why the left got a “free pass.”
“As far as my right to assemble, you may forget, we do have a Constitution, and, unlike you, I actually defended that Constitution for 30 years of my life, it’s no game,” Mastriano said.
“And I resent the fact that you want to castigate anyone who went down to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 as some kind of an enemy of the public. That is dangerous. You’re talking like an East German there because we have the right to assemble under the Constitution. Shame on you.”
Things only got worse from there. Stein attempted twice to get the interview back on track, asking about crime in Philadelphia and then mail-in voting rules, but Mastriano kept returning to Graham’s supposed effort to infringe on his right to assemble. At one point, he referred to the interview as a “waste of time,” adding later: “I don’t like the nature and tone of this whole interview.”
Separately, he compared the Jan. 6 crowd to Black Lives Matter protesters.
“Anyone who breaks the law at any event, whether it’s in Washington, D.C. or Minnesota, they need to be held to equal justice,” Mastriano said.
After Mastriano accused Graham of being intellectually incurious, the podcast host shot back: “I am intellectually curious. I’m intellectually curious about what your answer is when people bring up the issue. That’s my question. And your answer is that people who question you are coming between you and the Constitution, which is kind of an interesting stance to take. Do you think people should not be criticizing you, senator, is that your position?”
“Obviously, you lack the ability to think critically, because I gave a lot of reasons why–” Mastriano began. “Do you ask the same questions of the left? Of course you don’t.”