Two Arizona Republicans are trumpeting an endorsement from Andrew Torba, the CEO of far-right social media platform Gab, who said earlier this month that Jewish people aren’t welcome on Gab — and should be exiled from the conservative movement altogether.
Mark Finchem, who is running for secretary of state, and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who is seeking re-election, this week both touted their endorsements from Torba and praised him. Both said on social media that they were “honored” to have Torba’s endorsement, and Rogers included the hashtag #GabCaucus, the name that the Gab CEO has used for the collection of Republicans he supports across the country.
“These people aren’t conservative. They’re not Christian, right? They don’t share our values. They have inverted values from us as Christians. So don’t fall for the bait, right?” he said in a video defending Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. Torba is serving as a consultant to Mastriano’s campaign.
“We are going to take back this country for the glory of God. This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country,” he added.
In 2018, a prolific user of the site who had posted neo-Nazi propaganda and calls for violence against Jewish people massacred 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue, fueled by the so-called great replacement theory that has motivated white supremacist mass murderers around the world.
Gab has also openly courted racists to join the platform, HuffPost reported in 2018:
Torba, who likes to portray himself as a free speech warrior under attack by big tech, liberals and the media, describes Gab as a censorship-free version of Twitter. But as Gab’s CEO, he has rooted for prominent racists, vilified minorities, fetishized “trad life” in which women stay at home with the kids, and fantasized about a second American civil war in which the right outguns the left. And despite Torba’s supposed commitment to free speech, Gab often blocks its critics on Twitter and rails against journalists.
White supremacists and members of the alt-right like Gab because Torba speaks their language: People who learn to embrace far-right politics have been “red-pilled,” people who know what’s going on are “based.” Even Gab’s logo is a nod to white supremacists: The green frog is clearly reminiscent of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that became popular in racist memes.
Torba has also become increasingly open with his antisemitism since the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting.
“We’re building a parallel Christian society because we are fed up and done with the Judeo-Bolshevik one,” he tweeted last year, using language that the Nazi Party popularized in the 1930s.
This past February, he was a featured speaker at a white nationalist conference; his speech focused on the great replacement, an idea popular among white racists which holds that white Americans are being replaced by immigrants. (Rogers also spoke at the event, using her speech to fantasize about killing her political opponents.)
And in May, after a white supremacist gunman targeted Black people at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store and slaughtered 10 people, Torba pleaded with Gab users to marry and have babies only with white people.
Rogers has openly courted many of the same racist and antisemitic groups that Torba promotes. She has espoused the great replacement theory, claimed that the federal government is behind white supremacist mass murders, made nakedly antisemitic social media postings and appeared on an antisemitic news show multiple times.
Torba on July 26 posted on Gab that he was endorsing a slate of Arizona Republican candidates: Kari Lake, who is running for governor; Blake Masters, who is running for U.S. Senate; U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, who are both seeking re-election; Finchem; and Rogers.
The Gab posting has since been deleted.
Only Finchem and Rogers have promoted Torba’s endorsement. The Arizona Mirror asked the candidates he backed or their representatives whether they accept or reject Torba’s endorsement, given his recent antisemitic comments and his history of antisemitism.
Lake’s campaign rejected Torba’s support.
“It goes without saying, the Kari Lake Campaign for Governor absolutely denounces bigotry in all its forms, especially anti-semitism. We have never sought this endorsement,” spokesman Ross Trumble said in an emailed statement.
A day after this story was published, Masters said he wanted nothing to do with Torba.
“I’ve never heard of this guy and I reject his support,” Masters said in a statement emailed to the Mirror. “The reason I’ve never heard of him is because he’s a nobody, and nobody cares about him except the media.”
***UPDATED: This story has been updated to include a comment from Kari Lake’s campaign and from Blake Masters.
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