GOP Pa. lawmakers criticized for “concerning” comments

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Comments by two Republican lawmakers are drawing criticism on Monday night. Some say they’re racist, insensitive and offensive. Are they? You be the judge.

When State Representative Dan Moul (R-Adams) couldn’t get into the Pa. Farm Show Complex to see personal protective equipment (PPE) stored there, he suggested that much of it is made in China and then said this.

“They sell us equipment to protect us from the virus that they either accidentally or intentionally — whatever you believe — let loose from their country that has devastated a lot of people in this country,” Moul said.

One day later, Republican Senator Cris Dush (R-25th District) made a comment in an Appropriations Committee meeting.

“Some veterans fo the second World War who fought socialists and nazi party in Germany,” Dush said.

Dush evoked Nazis when asking the Health Secretary about last year’s memo requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients.

“And I heard the term death camps from my constituents with regard to this,” Dush said.

He then wondered out loud if the department intended to exterminate seniors to save money.

“In socialist governments, that could be seen as an effective tool of reducing costs to the state as the socialists call it,” Dush said.

Chad Lassiter, executive director for the Pa. Human Relations Commission, disagreed.

“It’s a poor analogy,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter says in these polarized times, politicians of all stripes should be mindful of their language.

“We need leaders who are in love with leading not in love with fame. Leaders who are in love with serving humanity and not the blue check and number of followers they get on social media,” Lassiter said.

“I want to offer my apologies for that exchange,” Republican Chair Pat Browne said.

That is rare. Browne publicly apologizing for Dush’s remarks, saying he doesn’t buy Dush’s defense — that he was just asking questions his constituents had.

“It’s not our responsibility just to repeat and to react to what was said. It’s our responsibility to lead,” Browne said.

But it is a lawmaker’s responsibility, Lassiter says, to set a good example for the young who are watching.

“They say you’re telling me to behave and discipline my language but look at the adults who can’t do the same thing,” Lassiter said.

In a statement, Dush said he will remain vigilant and continue to task tough questions. Moul said when he was speaking of China, he was not referring to race but rather geopolitics. 

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