Doug Mastriano, the Trump-backed nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, has been branded unfit for office by his opponents after a photo appeared of him wearing a Confederate uniform.
Mastriano was shown in the gray uniform of a Confederate soldier in an Army War College faculty photo published Friday by Reuters. The public display of Confederate relics has been fiercely condemned as symbols of white supremacy and betrayal. Enemies of Mastriano, who is on the run to lead a major swing state, say the photo should keep him away from the governor’s office, while his allies say the reaction is overblown.
Mastriano is pictured in the uniform for a 2013-14 portrait taken for the university’s Department of Military Strategy, Plans and Operations, according to Reuters, which obtained the image through a request for public records. The department’s faculty were allowed to dress up as historical figures, with Mastriano being the only one to choose the uniform of a Confederate soldier, the news channel said.
The Army War College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, told Reuters it has removed the rendering of the portrait, saying “it does not meet AWC values.”
“Doug Mastriano wore the uniform of traitors who fought to defend slavery on US Army War College grounds,” Pennsylvania Attorney General. Josh Shapirothe Democratic nominee for governor, said in a tweet, noting that the college removed the portrait.
Shapiro added: “It is very insulting and again proves who he is. He is unfit to be governor.”
Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Zabel said: in a tweet that Mastriano was unfit for office and wondered why he would choose to wear a uniform associated with slavery, sedition and the losing side of the Civil War.
Some users noted the irony in Mastriano that represents: Gettysburgthe site of an important battle in the Civil War.
Others downplayed the photo, pointing out that he is a historian who has served as a tour guide in Gettysburg.
“Media AVOID Mastriano apparently ever posing as a Civil War historical figure for a photo,” Jenna Ellis, a lawyer representing Trump, in a tweet. “And? He has a PhD in HISTORY. The Left wants to erase history. @dougmastriano wants us to learn from it.”
Twitter user Governor Dill said in a tweet that Mastriano wears Civil War attire for work and called the Reuters report “a disgusting attempt at a hit piece.”
Mastriano, a former colonel in the U.S. military and current state senator, has previously sparked controversy for trading conspiracy theories and supported former President Donald Trump’s widely debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Mastriano was also present at the January 6 Capitol riot. Although he has not been charged, a House committee investigating the incident has subpoenaed Mastriano, who is accused of arranging an “alternative” list of pro-Trump voters from Pennsylvania.
“It seems @dougmastriano wore the uniform of traitors at the Army War College,” Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican critic of Trump, said in a tweet. “He also defends the current traitors who attempted a coup after losing an election. Traitors.”
News week contacted Mastriano’s campaign for comment.