Ohio state treasurer and Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel retweeted the right-wing conspiracy theorist behind the “Pizzagate” theory.
Mandel, who is running for a rematch against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018, retweeted a post on Medium by Mike Cernovich, who is a host on fellow conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars.
In the post, Cernovich accuses the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate group, of “inciting terrorism.”
In the end of the post, Cernovich writes “The mainstream media in America is ISIS.”
Mandel tweeted that it was “sad” to see the ADL “become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs” before saying he stood with Cernovich and his colleague Jack Posobiec.
After Mandel’s tweet, Posobiec tweeted a video he made at the Auschwitz concentration camp, likening the ADL to Nazis.
The ADL responded in a statement:
“For more than a century, ADL has been guided by its mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and fight for equal justice for all — not by politics. We call out those who preach anti-Semitism and bigotry regardless of their background, party, or standing.
“Our new report identifies the major figures on the Alt Right and the Alt Lite and explains the differences between the various players in these emerging movements. We stand by our report.”
Cernovich notably promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that posited that Comet Ping Pong Pizza, a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., was the location of a child sex ring that was tied to Hillary Clinton .
The assertion was debunked a number of times, but in December, Edgar Madison Welch entered the restaurant and fired three times. Welch pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Posobiec hasalso promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
But Erica Nurnberg, Mandel’s campaign spokeswoman, defended Mandel’s retweet.
“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and as a Marine who defended our freedom, Treasurer Mandel believes the ADL is dead wrong for creating hit lists on American citizens,” Nurnberg said. “Of all organizations, the ADL should know that making target lists of people based on their political beliefs is a dangerous practice and slippery slope.”
Since announcing his plans for a rematch against Brown, Mandel has adopted a tone similar to President Donald Trump, who won Ohio last year.
Last month, Mandel responded to a tweet of a woman who identified herself as anti-Muslim who said she wanted to work for his campaign and speak with him about “the threat of Islam.”
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) June 26, 2017