ICYMI: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pa. lawmaker poses for photo with man in group with white supremacist ties

“It is long past time that the Pennsylvania Republican Party, from Mike Turzai to Daryl Metcalfe and Stephanie Borowicz, demonstrate to Pennsylvanians once and for all that white supremacy will not be tolerated in their party,” said Brandon Cwalina, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “Instead, Republican representatives take every opportunity they can to invite white nationalists to their rallies and snap selfies with white supremacists, proving that they have no interest in disavowing such hateful and dangerous ideology that threatens the basic principles of what it means to be American. Borowicz owes Pennsylvanians an apology, as does the Republican leadership that shields her from accountability.”

* The photo, taken Monday, is with a man who attended a pro-gun rally at the state Capitol. The man, who appears to be taking a selfie with Ms. Borowicz, is wearing a shirt emblazoned with the name and logo of The American Guard, which anti-hate organizations describe as having ties to white supremacists.

* The Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate group, has asked her to apologize.

* She also did not condemn white nationalism.

* The Anti-Defamation League has identified The American Guard as “a group closely tied to white supremacy.” The League has said the group was founded by a longtime white supremacist who was also affiliated with “a hardcore racist skinhead gang that has had a high association with violence.”


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pa. lawmaker poses for photo with man in group with white supremacist ties

By Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis

HARRISBURG — Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz may be new on the job, but it didn’t take long for her to become divisive.

The first-term lawmaker from Clinton County, who made national headlines this year for delivering a controversial prayer on the floor of the House of Representatives, is now fielding criticism for a photo that ricocheted across social media this week.

The photo, taken Monday, is with a man who attended a pro-gun rally at the state Capitol. The man, who appears to be taking a selfie with Ms. Borowicz, is wearing a shirt emblazoned with the name and logo of The American Guard, which anti-hate organizations describe as having ties to white supremacists.

The Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate group, has asked her to apologize.

Ms. Borowicz did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In a statement, she said she is often approached by people, including constituents, who want to take photos with her.

“We do not, nor should we, require ID or background checks as a condition for being photographed with the people of Pennsylvania — our constituents! The many photos taken of me at this year’s Rally to Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms are no different,” she said.

View image on Twitter

The statement did not address what, if anything, she knew about The American Guard, or the man with whom she took the photo. She also did not condemn white nationalism.

A spokesperson for The American Guard could not immediately be reached for comment. The group says on its website that it promotes “American Constitutional Nationalism,” and rejects what it calls “left-wing or right-wing tyranny.”

The Anti-Defamation League has identified The American Guard as “a group closely tied to white supremacy.” The League has said the group was founded by a longtime white supremacist who was also affiliated with “a hardcore racist skinhead gang that has had a high association with violence.”

“It is irresponsible for state legislators to pose for selfies with white supremacists,” said Nancy K. Baron-Baer, the League’s regional director, later adding: “Whether or not Rep. Borowicz knew who this individual was or what he stood for, she knows now, and should immediately apologize and condemn white supremacy.”

Progressive activist Sean Kitchen spotted Ms. Borowicz and the American Guard member taking the selfie on Monday. He snapped his own photo of the moment and posted it to Twitter.

“This is a typical, calculated move out of their leftist playbook to take a photograph, distort the truth and assassinate my character,” Ms. Borowicz said in the statement. “This nonsense is exactly what Americans are tired of, lies and distortions of the truth.”

Mr. Kitchen’s tweet caught the attention of Harrisburg’s lawmakers, including some of Ms. Borowicz’s Democratic colleagues, who have been critical of her since controversy flared over her prayer on the House floor.

Ms. Borowicz delivered the prayer in late March, on the same day the chamber’s first Muslim woman was being sworn into office. During her prayer, she mentioned Jesus 13 times, describing him as “our only hope,” and also referenced Israel and President Donald Trump, among others.

At the time, some critics accused her of politicizing the prayer, which House guidelines direct should be appropriate for people of all faiths.

Read the article here.