Pennsylvania AG Rips GOP Rival Mastriano Over ‘Dangerous’ Big Lie Rhetoric

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 2: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at a Stand Against Hate rally at Independence Mall on March 2, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia ... PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 2: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at a Stand Against Hate rally at Independence Mall on March 2, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia organized the event in hopes of expressing solidarity days after vandalism of the Mt. Carmel cemetery. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro (D) on Sunday tore into his GOP rival state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race for his “dangerous” and “divisive” rhetoric.

During an appearance on CNN, Shapiro took aim at Mastriano’s boost of former President Trump’s Big Lie of a “stolen” 2020 presidential election. Shapiro described his rival as a governor who would take Pennsylvania to a “divisive and dark place,” citing Mastriano’s support for an ultimately fruitless Trumpian plot to illegally seize voting machines.

“It’s very dangerous because, here in Pennsylvania, the next governor will appoint the secretary of state,” Shapiro said. “And the governor, and the governor alone, appoints electors based on the will of the people. And Senator Mastriano has made it clear that he will appoint the electors based on his belief system.”

Shapiro reiterated his disdain for Mastriano’s “dangerous” penchant for the Big Lie, warning that democracy is at risk if his GOP rival is elected to serve as governor of the commonwealth.

“Listen, he’s essentially saying, sure, you can go vote, but I will pick the winner — that’s incredibly dangerous,” Shapiro said. “And it is what is at stake in this governor’s race.”

Shapiro also pointed to Mastriano’s “extreme” and “dangerous” position on abortion rights in addition to his attendance of the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the deadly Capitol insurrection last year.

“When the police told him to stop at the barricades, he kept marching. He is someone who wants to overturn not just the last election, but has made clear that he would pick the winner of the next one,” Shapiro said. “He wants to make it illegal to have same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. He thinks climate change is fake. He is a danger. That contrast couldn’t be clearer.”

Shapiro’s remarks come days after the Washington Post reported on Mastriano’s master’s thesis in 2001 as a major at the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College that outlined his far-right vision of “civilian putsch” that would arise if the military didn’t fight “political correctness” to protect conservative ideology.

Mastriano’s master’s thesis appeared to preview his efforts to fuel last year’s insurrection after months of boosting the Big Lie.

Mastriano has continued supporting Trump’s election steal scheme well after the insurrection, which included his unsuccessful push for a “forensic investigation” into his home state’s 2020 election results as well as the fruitless MAGA audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 results by the conspiracy theorist-led tech firm Cyber Ninjas.

In February, Mastriano was subpoenaed alongside Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator and chair of the state’s Republican party, and Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative and current candidate for Arizona secretary of state, for their alleged involvement in a scheme to send fake slates of electors to Congress after the 2020 election.

Watch Shapiro’s remarks below:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: