In a Facebook Live video posted this past Friday, Republican Scott Wagner of Pennsylvania told incumbent Governor Tom Wolf that he was “going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.” Wagner is currently behind Wolf in multiple polls in the campaign for governor of Pennsylvania. His spokesman Andrew Romeo has since clarified that Wagner’s words were not meant to be taken literally.
The video began with Wagner responding to a billboard ad paid for by the non-profit accountability organization Pennsylvania Spotlight. The group claims they are not associated with any political campaigns. The billboard explains that Wagner’s waste disposal and recycling company, Penn Waste, has sued 6,979 people who live in Pennsylvania. Wagner was quick to fire back at Wolf
“Hey, Gov. Wolf, did you ever have a customer not pay you when you were such a sharp business guy?” Wagner responded, according to CNN. It was his statement about the remainder of the campaign, however, that drew large numbers of both critics and supporters.
“Well, 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 because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania.”
Scott Wagner, the GOP candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, wanted to send a message to the incumbent, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. It said, in part: “I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.” https://t.co/6RU1tES1xn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 13, 2018
Wagner spokesman Andrew Romeo issued a statement on the comment that was reported by USA Today.
“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… Scott will spend the last month of the race making it clear to voters why they should not give him a second term.”
Romeo’s statement was followed by a mix of encouragement and criticism. Those critical of his “golf spikes” statement saw the statement as a threat and inappropriate. Beth Melena, communications director for Tom Wolf’s campaign described as an example of why Wagner should not be governor of Pennsylvania.
“Scott Wagner’s latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office. Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office.”
Wagner also went after Wolf and his claim that he supports small businesses, saying it makes him “want to puke.”
“I want to puke when I see those ads because small business owners have to collect their money… You put a lot of small businesses out of business, because they couldn’t pay their bills because of the budget standoff for nine months in 2015 and ’16.”