As the national debate over violent rhetoric rages among politicians, pundits and President Trump, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania offered the latest case study in partisan rancor on Friday when he threatened to “stomp all over” the Democratic incumbent’s face with his golf spikes.
A spokesman for Scott Wagner, the Republican nominee, said the threat wasn’t meant literally.
In a video posted to Facebook, Wagner — a former state senator and a businessman with interests in waste disposal, trucking and real estate — is seen standing in front of a billboard in York, Pa., that bears an attack ad that he suggested was paid for Gov. Tom Wolf. The billboard asserted that Wagner had sued nearly 7,000 Pennsylvania residents during his business career.
“Hey governor, I don’t know if you know this or not, but if you have a company, when you render a service, you want to get paid for that service,” Wagner said. “Hey Gov. Wolf, did you ever have a customer not pay you when you were such a sharp business guy?”
But Wagner, who has been endorsed by Trump, didn’t stop there.
“Hey, you know what, Gov. Wolf? The people of Pennsylvania are tired of your lies,” he said, referencing an ad running on local television stations. “You’re the small-business governor? I tell you, I want to puke when I see those ads.”
Wagner went on: “Well, Gov. Wolf, let me tell you what, between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes,” he said. “Because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania. And we’re throwing you out of office.”
Wolf leads Wagner in recent polling by more than 20 points.
In a statement to PennLive.com, Wolf campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena dismissed Wagner’s “latest unhinged rant” as a desperate attempt to channel John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo.
Wagner’s spokesman, Andrew Romeo, said the comments were meant as “a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign” and were not meant “to be taken literally.”
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