The Republican Party’s top Senate candidate in Ohio tweeted his support on Thursday for two pro-Trump media provocateurs who have previously promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of DNC staff member and an elaborate hoax involving child sex rings under a Washington D.C. restaurant.
“Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec,” wrote Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, referencing Mike Cernovich, currently an InfoWars co-host and independent journalist, and Jack Posobiec, who worked with the Citizens for Trump organization during the election and went on organize the inaugural event called the Deploraball.
Mandel’s tweet was in response to a Medium post from Cernovich on Wednesday, in which Cernovich claimed that the Anti-Defamation League, an international, Jewish anti-hate-group, was “trying to get people they disagree with murdered.”
ADL had published a list of individuals they deemed to be in the Alt Right (defined by them as a “white supremacist movement consisting of a loose network of racists and anti-Semites”) and those in the Alt Lite (a term “created by the alt right to differentiate itself from right-wing activists who refused to publicly embrace white supremacist ideology”). Posobiec and Cernovich were placed on the latter list and described as promulgators of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory which purports that there was a child sex ring connected to Hillary Clinton in the tunnels beneath the Washington D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong.
“The mainstream media in America is ISIS,” Cernovich said in his post, as a means of calling out the press for not condemning the ADL.
That Mandel sided with Cernovich and Posobiec over the ADL was an odd bit of political calculus that caught the attention of political observers and earned condemnation from the campaign of his potential opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). But these are the calculations that Republicans have had to make when navigating through party primaries in the age of Trump.
When asked about the tweet, Mandel's spokesperson Erica Nurnberg told The Daily Beast: "As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and as a Marine who defended our freedom, Treasurer Mandel believes the ADL is dead wrong for creating hit lists on American citizens. Of all organizations, the ADL should know that making target lists of people based on their political beliefs is a dangerous practice and slippery slope."
This is not the first time that Posobiec and Cernovich have, at the very least, been tacitly endorsed by politicians. Just last month, Corey Stewart, the failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate-turned recent Senate candidate, spoke at an event organized by Posobiec near the White House.
And in April, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Cernovich deserved a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. At the time, Cernovich had recently appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes, which also caught the eye of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway who tweeted that the segment was a “must-see ratings bonanza.”
“The high ratings of the 60 Minutes piece caught my eye, so I looked for both the full clip and the full transcript,” Conway said in an email to The Daily Beast in April. “I tweeted both (using all handles) because this entire discussion about “fake news” is topical. (Apparently, the viewing audience agrees). I made no comment on the content of the interview. The transcript was not particularly flattering.”
“I don’t know him. I don’t recall ever meeting or speaking with him,” she added.