Steve Lynch, the Republican candidate for Northampton County executive in Pennsylvania, on Sunday claimed that he would aggressively confront pro-mask school board members with “20 strong men” to boot them from their positions.
Speaking to a crowd at a political rally in Harrisburg, Lynch is seen in a video ranting about his opposition to school mask mandates and issuing the rally cry of: “Make men men again!”
Lynch demanded that men join him in removing pro-mask school board members who refuse to resign.
“I’m going in with 20 strong men, and I’m going to speak to the school board, and I’m going to give them an option. They can leave or they can be removed,” Lynch said. “And then after that, we’re going to replace them with nine parents and we’re going to vote down the mask mandates that evening — that evening.”
Lynch insisted that his idea of confronting pro-mask school board members is “how you get stuff done.”
“Forget writing your legislator. Forget it! They’re not listening,” Lynch said, before saying people would have to end his life before he would permit “criminals” to enforce the mask mandate.
In an interview with The Morning Call on Monday, Lynch claimed that he did not intend to threaten violence against school board members, but simply wanted to kick off a grassroots movement that would prompt changes in school boards.
Northampton Area School District, where Lynch lives, ordered a mask mandate days before students class began on Monday. The district previously had an optional mask requirement in place before the board voted to make face masks mandatory last week.
“I do not believe in violence. I do not believe people should be putting their hands on people without their consent. That’s just not how you do things,” Lynch told The Morning Call.
Lynch’s campaign Facebook page touts his desire to rally locals into firing “rogue” school board members. In Pennsylvania, school board have the discretion to issue their own COVID-19 policies.
Lynch has emerged as a controversial figure in the Northampton County executive race. He attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally where then-President Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results. Lynch previously claimed that he was interviews by FBI agents investigating the deadly Capitol insurrection, but denies being part of the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol.
According to the Morning Call, Lynch regularly posts conspiracy theory theories on social media, which often mimics Trump’s rhetoric that pushes the Big Lie of a “stolen” election. Local online groups routinely flag Lynch’s incendiary posts and comments as racist and extremists — allegations that Lynch denies.
Lynch’s latest remarks comes on the heels of contentious school board meetings across the country where anti-mask parents have aggressively pushed back at school mask mandates even as the delta variant prompts spikes in COVID-19 cases among children who are ineligible to get vaccinated.