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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Far-right Republicans in Pennsylvania ban media from campaign

WARMINSTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — For nearly two hours on Saturday, members of the media were denied entry to a routine campaign event featuring a GOP front-runner for the governor in Pennsylvania and the US Senate by a security team that would not say Who had sent them?

“I know my rights,” said a man in a tricolor cap and white knee socks, when asked for answers about why he was blocking the media from entering.

Another security guard said, “We are just following orders.”

The decision to ban journalists from a joint rally for Doug Mastriano, gubernatorial candidate, and Senate candidate Cathy Barnett, turning a general campaign stop at an office-park event location, turned into a protracted confrontation between journalists and two far-right campaigns. . right candidate.

The back-and-forth was symbolic of the relationship between the GOP and the mainstream media over the past decade – mainly because it was so ridiculous.

The man in colonial dress was enforcing a parking ban along with several other men in modern clothing who did not join reporters and who prevented journalists from approaching the building where Barnett, Mastroiano and Trump’s former legal advisor Jenna Ellis was hosting a pre-election rally. At one point, the police were called. Even the guests had to prove that they pre-registered online or could not enter.

Eventually, the security team produced a letter from the owner of The Fuse, “the most unique incident location in Bucks County,” explaining the situation.

“This letter states that the security team of Friends of Doug Maastriano has the sole authority to accept or deny entry of any person on the property grounds. Fuse is the host venue and cannot interfere with the security team in any way.” will not,” read aloud a member of the security team.

Later, Samuel Cravero, the owner of The Fuse, came out and spoke to reporters. “I’ve rented a place for a private event, and it’s their decision that you’re not here,” he said.

It was a predictable end to a primary that produced the nation’s most recognizable heart surgeon, GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, which ultimately stoked support for Trump. It also propelled Maastriano, a state senator and a central figure in an attempt to reverse the 2020 election, into serious contention for governor. Earlier on Saturday, Trump blew up a last-minute note of support for Maastriano. “There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for the integrity of the election than state Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump wrote.

Maastriano’s campaign had previously barred the media from its events, but the strategy made no sense this weekend given the positive news of Trump’s support.

Meanwhile, Oz has virtually hooked up with Barnett, a conservative commentator who began chiming in on the heels of Oz and hedge-fund executive Dave McCormick late in the race. Barnett is a wild card: The author of a memoir about being black and conservative has never held public office, and lost a House race badly in 2020. He has also embraced anti-Muslim and anti-gay views.

Trump aides are panicking over Barnett’s surge — and the prospect of another blemish on his endorsement record if Oz loses — calling the situation a “nightmare,” Nation World News reported. Trump issued a statement Thursday saying Barnett had not been properly “investigated” but left the door open to backing him in the general election.

“They’re coming out with long knives at this point,” Barnett told an audience in the Philadelphia suburbs. “Today was the best day of my life.”

Some people who spoke to HuffPost before Barnett-Mastriano entered the event said she was turned down by Oz as a candidate, and resonated more with Barnett’s story. in a campaign video And during the debate, Barnett talked about how her mother was raped and gave birth to her when she was 12, a story used with GOP voters opposing abortion. Was.

“With Oz, it’s just double talk on things like the Second Amendment and red flag laws,” said Nick, a 30-year-old IT worker from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. “I appreciate Barnett’s story.”

Neither Barnett nor Maastriano ever addressed reporters outside, but Barnett’s face flashed on the electronic billboard of a van in the parking lot, along with the slogan: “I’m you!”

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