Doug Mastriano touts endorsement from ultra-orthodox rabbi who expresses sympathy for Capitol rioters and believes Hitler was part lizardIsabella Zavarise
Sun, September 4, 2022 at 8:51 PM·2 min read
- PA gubernatorial candidate Mastriano touted an endorsement from Joseph Kolakowski, an ultra-orthodox rabbi.
- Kolakowski has expressed sympathy for Capitol rioters and believes Hitler was part lizard.
- Kolakowski told Insider he felt Mastriano was being "falsely maligned" as antisemitic.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Mastriano shared a story by the Epoch Times, a far-right publication, with his supporters on social media with the headline: "Rabbi Endorses Mastriano as Shapiro Calls Him Antisemitic in Pennsylvania Gov. Race."
In the article, Kolakowski — who leads a Hasidic Jewish ministry in Pennsylvania — defended Mastriano, saying, "while the Democrats have the chutzpah to claim that those of us from the Party of Lincoln are somehow racist, they do not look at the racist tenants of their own party, including abortion and gun control, both of which cause undue and disproportionate harm to people of color, and are historically rooted in openly racist ideologies."
The Inquirer reported the 38-year-old rabbi frequently posts on his YouTube channel about unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election, his support for Capital rioters, and believing in a theory that Adolf Hitler was part lizard.
In one video about the Nazi dictator, the rabbi said there's "a reason why he never took off his boots."
"[It] was to hide the fact that his feet were reptilian in nature because he came from this nonhuman race, demonic race. He was a hybrid."
In an email to Insider, Kolakowski acknowledged his past comments about Hitler but said the story may be more of an urban legend and doesn't know "if it is literally true." He also said that he reached out to the Mastriano campaign because he felt the senator was being "falsely maligned" as antisemitic.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Kolakowski said after he reached out to the campaign he was asked to write something. His statements were later published in the Epoch Times.
Jewish leaders and Democrats have criticized the Trump-backed candidate for his ties to far-right extremists and his efforts to garner support on Gab, a social network founded by a self-described Christian nationalist.
Mastriano praised the site's founder, Andrew Torba, who has said Jews are not welcome in his movement. Insider reported that Mastriano also paid the site $5,000, per campaign finance filings.
Mastriano is running against Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race. Recent polls show Shapiro ahead of his opponent by 7.3 points.
Mastriano's campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.