Unhinged Mastriano Repeatedly Lies, Smears Breitbart Reporter in Meltdown Interview

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, attends a hearing of the Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Policy Committee in Gettysburg, Pa. State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 that he's putting Sen. Cris Dush, R-Bradford, in charge of …
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano repeatedly lied about Breitbart News and questioned the religious faith of a Breitbart reporter in an unhinged interview Wednesday morning then refused to answer any questions about the statements.

Mastriano, a Republican and retired U.S. Army Colonel, has publicly floated a possible gubernatorial bid in Pennsylvania next year—and is expected to formally announce a campaign per several local news reports in early January. If Mastriano runs as expected, he will face a crowded GOP primary field including former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and state Senate President Jake Corman, among others.

Breitbart News published a story earlier this week raising concerns about the possibility that Mastriano might have run afoul of campaign finance laws because he is apparently campaigning for governor without a formal campaign committee, using his old state senate campaign committee to raise funds. Billboards he is running, paid for by his state senate campaign committee, urge people to support him for governor–something legal experts familiar with Pennsylvania campaign finance law said might be concerning if he decides to formally run.

Mistakes like these—and Mastriano having made election integrity the centerpiece of his political image despite having voted for Act 77, the legislation that Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf used to implement the mail-in voting system in Pennsylvania in 2020—cast serious doubt on a potential candidate’s ability to successfully win a general election.

Following the publication of the Breitbart News story, Mastriano appeared on NewsTalk 103.7 FM, a local talk radio station in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday morning to make a series of nasty comments about Breitbart News as well as a number of inaccurate statements about the reporter who wrote the piece..

Asked to respond to the original story on his campaign finance and structure issues by the local radio host, Mastriano launched into a diatribe questioning the Christianity and integrity of the Breitbart News reporter who reported the story, Hannah Bleau.

Slamming her as “Young Hannah,” Mastriano said, “I don’t dig how” Bleau “did this piece here and shame on her.”

“She professes on her Twitter page to be a Christian,” Mastriano said. “If that is so, I can’t judge her heart here.”

When the host, sounding shocked, clarified that Mastriano was indeed referring to Breitbart’s Bleau, Mastriano replied: “Yeah. That girl is very questionable and she is compromising her integrity.”

The host then asked Mastriano if Breitbart News contacted Mastriano for the story—Bleau had, and included his comment in the piece—to which he replied with a series of inaccurate statements about the nature and timeline of the reporting of the original story and about the content of it. Mastriano replied:

Let me tell you how she did it. The left, when they want to say they reached out to somebody conservative but don’t want to hear from you, they’ll send you—they’ll get you in the middle of the day. It’ll be an email that you may or may not see. They’ll say, ‘hey, I got this article. I’m alleging this. You got two or three hours to respond.’ She pretty much did that to us. I got an email to one of my accounts. It basically said ‘I hope to publish’—I got it around, I think I saw it around 2 or 3 o’clock. I don’t know exactly when she sent it. But basically, ‘I plan on’—I’m quoting her here—‘I hope to publish by the end of the day.’ So you’re giving me two or three hours to respond. I’m in the middle of an event and now I have to drop everything I’m doing, I decide to drop everything I’m doing.

After Mastriano made these comments, Breitbart News went back and checked the timeline of events and the formal comment request. The comment request went to the communications director for his state Senate office—a man named Joshua Hermann—at 12:47 p.m. on Dec. 21, and did include that Breitbart News intended to publish the story by the end of the day. It is very typical in media to include a deadline for a comment request, and it is also very typical for those receiving comment requests to ask for more time.

Hermann replied with a statement from Mastriano at 3:17 p.m. that day, Dec. 21, a statement that was included in full in the story. What’s more, the actual story was not published until a full week later on Dec. 28. In other words, Mastriano’s claim that he was blindsided by this request or the story is totally false—he and his team were well aware of it and able to prepare for its publication for a full week before Breitbart News put this information out to our readers—and had already provided his comment a week before the publication of the story.

Mastriano did not stop there in this local radio interview, however. He made several more dubious or inaccurate statements throughout the next several minutes on air. In one instance, for example, he claimed the Pennsylvania Department of State told him that he did nothing wrong—but the very same Department of State told Breitbart News that it does not weigh in on such matters publicly. Mastriano said:

I have to call the Department of State, sit on hold—everyone has to, there’s no hotline there to their campaign finance people. I finally get to speak to somebody 20 or 30 minutes later, and this is what’s being alleged, this is what I got going on. ‘Have I violated any rules? Have I done everything right?’ They are like ‘you are good to go, you’ve done everything right.’ There is no gray area. That’s crap. So when I was reading that article, I actually laughed out loud when I got to the end of it because you got all these allegations and then in the end there’s this attorney who says there’s no issues there were no laws were broken….

Mastriano has not replied to several formal interview and comment requests sent repeatedly, not only to his state senate staff in Pennsylvania, but also calls, texts, and voicemails left for him on his personal cell phone. Several intermediaries, including the station manager for the local radio station and others in contact with Mastriano, were either unable to convince him to further explain his comments in an interview with Breitbart News or were unable to reach him. The station manager for the local radio station declined Breitbart News’s requests for an interview with the local host who conducted the interview with Mastriano on Wednesday morning.

Mastriano did, however, remove a video of the error-filled radio appearance from his Facebook page after Breitbart News inquiries on the matter.

Mastriano also later made another pair of inaccurate claims about Breitbart News, falsely stating that Breitbart News did not cover his efforts to secure a forensic audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election and that Breitbart News had “belittled or even mocked” the Arizona audit:

I will note, where was Breitbart during my entire endeavor of trying to do a forensic investigation of our election results since last November? And actually am I incorrect in saying they belittled or even mocked what was going on in Arizona? So, you have to consider the source.

This statement is false, as Breitbart News published several pieces on Mastriano’s effort to secure a forensic audit of the Pennsylvania election—including most notably one by none other than Hannah Bleau—and several pieces on Arizona’s audit as well. Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow even recently hosted an election integrity panel in Arizona at Turning Point USA’s Americafest conference.

“I try to walk with integrity,” Mastriano said in the interview. “I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner like everyone else here, but I try to honor my oath. I did it all my life, and they’re not used to—when I won the election two and a half years ago, they didn’t know what to do with an army colonel coming in who had 30 years of top secret clearance and doing operations around the world. It’s because they can’t control me. I work for the people and I do honor my oath.”


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