Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, slammed incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for falsely calling Stephen K. Bannon a “white supremacist” Sunday on CNN. Bannon is the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News and the former chief strategist in President Donald Trump’s White House, a position he assumed after serving as the CEO of President Trump’s successful general election campaign last year.
In a quote Mandel sent exclusively to Breitbart News, the U.S. Senate candidate called Brown’s false charges — which the Democratic Senator also leveled against White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller — “desperate, false and beneath the dignity of his office.”
“When Washington politicians get so terrified of losing their job and their cocktail party invitations, they embarrass themselves like Sherrod Brown did today,” Mandel told Breitbart News:
Career politician Brown’s charges against former White House advisor Steve Bannon and President Trump’s senior policy advisor are desperate, false and beneath the dignity of his office and the people of Ohio and he should apologize. Sherrod’s lies are from a stale and failed playbook that’s worn thin on Americans and motivated so many people to abandon the Democratic Party.
On CNN on Sunday, Brown leveled the charge against Bannon and Miller, falsely calling them white supremacists.
“I agree that Steve Bannon is a white supremacist and Stephen Miller seems to be,” Brown said. “And I know that studies have shown that they have their allies sprinkled around the White House.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded forcefully, bashing Brown for the wholly inaccurate comments.
“Senator Brown’s comments are outrageous and slanderous,” Sanders said in a statement:
The nonstop name calling from the left continues to show an inability to build consensus and fix the problems ailing hardworking Americans. Senator Brown needs to understand that when he calls out public servants who are part of the Trump Administration, he is indicting the voters in Ohio themselves who overwhelmingly voted for the President’s agenda. Instead of performing theatre for the extreme left fringe, his time would be better spent fighting for everyday people by supporting the Trump Agenda of pro-worker trade and immigration policies that will raise wages and living standards for all Americans.
This is not the first time Brown has made such inaccurate comments. The last time Brown made such false claims, they happened at a Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) event this summer when Bannon and Dr. Sebastian Gorka were still serving in the White House and Brown came under intense criticism. Back then, right after he did it, Brown faced an immediate backlash from not just Mandel but also ZOA president Mort Klein.
Both Mandel and Klein appeared on Breitbart News Radio on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel to call out Brown for the inaccurate comments at the time.
“This was the Zionist Organization of America, ZOA, mission to Washington lobbying for strong U.S.-Israel relations,” Klein said in the radio appearance:
That’s why we were there. That was the focus. That’s all we wanted to talk about. In fact, when I was sitting with him at the table before he went up, I said “Sen. Brown this is a great opportunity to let our people—hundreds of people from all over the country—know that Democrats are also pro-Israel.” Too many people think it’s only Republicans. Even though the Democrats are not as strong for Israel, there are many good Democrats who are good on Israel.
I said “this is the time to let people know you are a strong supporter and you are a Democrat.” I told him that and yet all he did when he came up was when he got up to speak was attack Donald Trump, attack the administration as filled with bigots and anti-Semites, and attack Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon, Breitbart has never had a neo-Nazi or racist or David Duke type article ever. I’ve never seen it. The articles I see are articles fighting anti-Semitism and articles telling the truth about the Arab-Islamic war against Israel and promoting Israel.
But I’ll tell you where this phony image comes from, when Steve Bannon said that “Breitbart is a platform for the alt-right,” Steve Bannon meant a platform for those who are anti-establishment, anti-the mainstream people. Too many people thought wrongly [when he said that] that “alt-right” meant Neo-Nazis and David Dukes.
Frankly, I’ve urged him to make it clear that he never meant that and that’s where this distortion of meaning about Steve Bannon came. But what’s shocking to me is that even if this were true, we were there about Israel and not there about Donald Trump or Steve Bannon. So it showed to me the intense enmity that Sherrod Brown and many Democrats have toward the Trump administration—a really irrational enmity that makes no sense. In fact, Breitbart—as you mentioned—hired an Orthodox Jew to be head of its Jerusalem station in Israel and he has hired two other Orthodox Jews to work with you over the years. Joel Pollak is still working with you, who is an Orthodox Jew. Anti-Semites rarely hire Orthodox Jews.
Mandel similarly hammered Brown at the time.
“I think he’s trying to pander to his far-left base,” Mandel said:
This guy has voted with Elizabeth Warren 97 percent of the time and this is not Ohio. The fact that he is falsely accusing Steve, and falsely accusing Breitbart, of this is in my mind grotesque and also he lacks courage because he won’t even come on to talk about it. He can say it behind a microphone but when he is invited on a show like this to actually discuss it, my guess is he didn’t have the time to come on. It’s pure politics. I’d rather him sticking up for the people of the state of Ohio. Rather than doing what’s right by the people in our state, he’s just playing politics and trying to pander to his far-left base. Like I said, he has voted with Elizabeth Warren 97 percent of the time so part of his base is out there in Massachusetts and East Coast coastal elites and part of his base is on the West Coast in California where there’s coastal elites as well.
Interestingly, Brown’s decision to make these inaccurate claims about Miller and Bannon comes at a time when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff Josh Holmes — who is still loyal to McConnell — made the same inaccurate claim about Bannon.
“In 2018 we ought to revisit this question and find out if these people are still happy to be associated with Bannon,” Holmes told The Hill newspaper in a piece that ran Sunday. “When you’re facing voters, I’d take one of the most successful majority leaders in history over a white supremacist any day.”
It’s worth noting that Holmes’ false attack on Bannon — which was made on McConnell’s behalf — came in a newspaper article where not one GOP candidate for U.S. Senate would support McConnell for majority leader of the U.S. Senate. The piece in The Hill noted that Mandel would not throw his support publicly behind McConnell:
GOP Senate hopeful Mike Gibbons is calling on Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the favorite in the race, to sign his petition demanding that McConnell retire.
Mandel, who received millions of dollars in outside support from the McConnell-aligned group American Crossroads GPS for his failed 2012 bid, ducked the question at a press conference this week and told reporters he’d address it when elected.
“Just like we would expect from the career politician that he is, Josh is refusing to take a position,” Gibbons said in a statement to The Hill.
Mandel’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.
Andy Surabian, a former White House official who served as Bannon’s deputy during their time together during the Trump administration, fired back at Holmes in his own comment to The Hill.
“No amount of smearing can change the fact that not a single U.S. Senate candidate was willing to go on the record and say that they supported Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader,” Surabian, now a senior adviser to the pro-Trump Great America Alliance, said. “Everyone can see right through the clearly desperate, unfounded and pathetic attacks coming from McConnell Incorporated.”