Faculty Pic With Pa. Governor Hopeful Raises Eyebrows

Doug Mastriano posed in Confederate uniform in 2013-14 Army War College photo
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2022 7:45 AM CDT
Faculty Pic With Pa. Governor Hopeful Raises Eyebrows
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano takes part in a forum for Republican candidates for governor of Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, Pa., on April 1.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Doug Mastriano, a far-right GOP candidate for Pennsylvania governor who's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has already raised eyebrows with his appearance outside the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and the various conspiracy theories he promotes, including that widespread fraud tipped the 2020 election in Joe Biden's favor. Now, a nearly decade-old faculty photo from Army War College has emerged showing the retired US Army colonel, now a state senator in the Keystone State, decked out in a Confederate uniform and grasping a Civil War-era firearm. The picture, taken for the 2013-14 school year at the military education school, was released by the college to Reuters after the news agency put in a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mastriano, who used to work for the college's Department of Military Strategy, Plans, and Operations, is the only one in the photo who opted for the Confederate uniform. Sources tell Reuters that faculty members who were to pose for the photo were given the option to dress as a historical figure. Most of those seen in the picture are wearing regular civilian clothes or modern-day military uniforms, though one man in a jacket and tie is seen holding an aviator's helmet. The US military has a de facto ban on displays of the Confederate flag and similar symbols, which Reuters notes "can be seen as insensitive to those who view them as painful reminders of racial oppression and the Civil War." Mastriano's state Senate district includes Gettysburg, which is "the site of the battle where the tide of the Civil War turned against the Confederacy," per the New York Times.

Reuters notes that after it put in its request for the photo, the image was taken down from the wall where it had been displayed. The school tells the news agency it had previously scrubbed any Confederate-themed paraphernalia but had simply missed that one picture. "The photo has since been removed because it does not meet AWC values," the college says in a statement. Mastriano hasn't yet responded to the commotion over the photo, but attorney Jenna Ellis, who serves as one of his campaign advisers, accused the media of having a "melt down" and noted that Mastriano has a PhD in history. "I invite @Reuters to go on a Gettysburg tour with Doug," she tweeted Friday. "You'll learn a lot!" Mastriano, who has suggested de-registering all of Pennsylvania's voters and making them reregister, will face off against Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state's attorney general, for the governor's seat. (Read more Doug Mastriano stories.)

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