GOP Candidate for Pa. Governor Deletes Facebook Video That Referred to Climate Change as 'Pop Science'

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Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge on May 14, 2022 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. Mastriano, the front-runner in the Governor's May 17th primary race, held a campaign rally today after receiving a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Mastriano was joined by Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette on what she is calling her final campaign rally.
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge on May 14, 2022 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. Mastriano, the front-runner in the Governor's May 17th primary race, held a campaign rally today after receiving a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Mastriano was joined by Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette on what she is calling her final campaign rally.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty

Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, has apparently been deleting videos from his campaign's Facebook page.

Mastriano, a state senator who backed Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud in 2020 and the effort to overturn the presidential election, won the Republican primary for governor in May.

Weeks before his victory, Mastriano appeared in a video weighing in on the issue of global warming and reportedly calling it "pop science."

That video has vanished, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which reports that more than a dozen other clips have been removed from the page in the last three months.

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"Let's talk about climate change. They're hellbent on this theory — it's a theory, it's not a fact," Mastriano says in the deleted clip. "Heck, the weatherman can't get the weather right, you know, 24 hours out. … Al Gore said we were doomed by 2012, that cities would be overrun by melting glaciers."

Mastriano, a retired Army colonel, also complained in a now deleted video post that fellow Republicans opposed to his campaign represent a "corrupt" establishment wing of the party that holds "disdain" for veterans like him.

"They can talk about policies, but why do they have to attack me as a person and say the things they do? Because they have this disdain and hate for veterans," Mastriano said, according to the Inquirer. "If they really respected veterans — they can disagree on policy, no problem. They can criticize me on policy. But when they make the attacks personal, call them out. Tell them, 'This personifies your disdain for veterans.'"

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Abortion was the topic of other Facebook posts that Mastriano's campaign evidently deleted, according to the Inquirer.

"I'm all about following the science, and the science says, 'That's a baby in the womb.' What else could it be?" he said in one of the posts that's been removed. "Fetus is Latin for baby, by the way."

According to a spokesperson, Mastriano's campaign didn't go out of its way to remove the content from Facebook.

"The biased mainstream media is trying to manufacture a scandal, but they haven't done their homework," the spokesperson told The New York Times in an emailed statement. "The videos in question were automatically deleted by Facebook after 30 days because of a default Facebook setting."

But the Times points out that at least one of the deleted videos was apparently removed less than 30 days ago while others that are more than 30 days old remain on the Facebook page.

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Mastriano's critics say he may be removing videos in an attempt to hide some of the views he expressed during the Republican primary ahead of his Nov. 8 general election contest against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The Republican candidate "can't delete his extreme positions," David Turner, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, told the Times.

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"He's completely out of touch with most Pennsylvanians, calling to ban abortions, trafficking insane election conspiracy theories, and denying climate change," Turner said.

It's not the first time Mastriano has attempted to clean up his social media profiles. Media Matters for America reported in 2021 that he deleted dozens of tweets that allegedly supported QAnon conspiracy theories.