Earlier today the Pennsylvania Republican party officially threw its support behind Representative, Lou Barletta, to run against Bob Casey for U.S. Senate in this year’s election. Barletta gained a certain degree of national attention for his racist, anti-immigrant policies during his time as mayor of Hazleton. Those anti-immigrant credentials made him a natural fit to serve as a Trump surrogate during the 2016 election.
As Sean Kitchen has reported, Barletta has a history of cozying up with white supremacists.
Last week, CNN reported that Pennsylvania Congress, and Senate challenger to Bob Casey, Lou Barletta conducted an interview with the holocaust denying publication, the American Free Press, in 2006. The CNN story also reported that Congressman Barletta appeared on a panel that was orchestrated by the Youth for Western Civilization, a defunct white nationalist student group.
A 2012 Right Wing Watch report stated that a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) panel organized by the Youth for Western Civilization featured Tom Tancredo, Virgil Goode and Bay Buchanan, Pat Buchanan’s sister. According to that report, the panel focused on the “cult of multiculturalism” and the “persecution and marginalization of white Americans.”
Barletta also shares another distinguishing honor with Donald Trump – he was enthusiastically endorsed by former KKK leader David Duke back in 2008. So, there’s that.
But fear not. The Pennsylvania GOP must have balanced Barletta’s overt racism in other races, right? Not exactly. State Senator Scott Wagner got the parties endorsement as well. Wagner, who has got the backing of former Trump strategy guru and head of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, also got the nod today. Wagner has been in hot water for seemingly anti-Semitic comments at an event in Pittston, PA last year and his comments comparing labor unions to Hitler and Putin are infamous.
Let there be no doubt that today’s Pennsylvania Republican Party has officially thrown its support and resources behind racists and anti-worker goons. Welcome to the 2018 election season.