Amid calls from Republicans for more civility in politics, the party’s gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania posted a video on Facebook on Friday in which he warns Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of his plans to “stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”
In the video, GOP candidate Scott Wagner talks directly to the camera while standing under a billboard in York, Pa., sponsored by a group that has sought to highlight environmental violations and other shortcomings of Wagner’s trash hauling company.
Wagner, a state senator, conveys that he is sick of Wolf’s negative ads, says that Wolf doesn’t understand how business works and then offers this advice: “Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”
In a statement Friday, Andrew Romeo, Wagner’s spokesman, said: “Scott’s comments were not to be taken literally. He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign. Tom Wolf has spent the entire race hiding behind false and negative attack ads like a coward instead of debating in front of the people of Pennsylvania and Scott will spend the last month of the race making it clear to voters why they should not give him a second term.”
Democrats were less charitable in their assessments.
“Hey @realScottWagner — our kids are watching. I wouldn’t let you pet-sit my dog, let alone trust you as PA’s chief executive,” Tim Kearney, the mayor of Swarthmore, Pa., wrote on Twitter.
Wagner’s message comes as other Republicans have sought to capitalize on recent bellicose comments by former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., among others.
During a CNN interview Tuesday, Clinton said, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” adding that “civility can start again” if Democrats win back control of the House or the Senate.
Holder, meanwhile, has come under fire for comments made at a campaign event Sunday in which he said he disagrees with former first lady Michelle Obama’s high-minded 2016 slogan, “When they go low, we go high.”
“No, no,” said Holder, who served under President Barack Obama. “When they go low, we kick ’em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”
Holder, who is considering a 2020 presidential bid, made clear that he was not advocating “anything inappropriate.”
Both Clinton and Holder are featured in a new video by the Republican National Committee that calls Democrats an “unhinged mob.”
“It highlights the dangerous rhetoric of Democrat leaders and then what it is leading to,” Ronna McDaniel, chairman of the committee, said in an interview Friday on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News Channel.
Polls have shown Wagner trailing Wolf in Pennsylvania.