Photo courtesy of Facebook
Carla D'Addesi (left) with Paul Mango (center) at a Mango campaign event in February
In January, business consultant and gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango
(R-Pine Township) participated in a video interview with the controversial Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the leader of a far-right Christian church in Northeastern Pennsylvania that worships AR-15 automatic rifles.
During the January interview, Moon said that public-school students were getting “indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda” and a “transgender agenda.” Mango nodded along to Moon’s comments, and Pennsylvania Democratic Party officials criticized Mango for his appearance with Moon.
Mango spokesperson Matt Beynon told the TribLive
in January that Mango doesn’t believe “that schools are indoctrinating our kids," but does “believe that our culture has eroded and has become more and more intolerant of traditional family values.”
But a month later, on Feb. 15, a volunteer and campaign booster for Mango made an appearance on Moon’s podcast
, and she joined in with Moon on espousing some anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
Carla D’Addesi is a conservative cable-news commentator and self-described faith-and-family-coalition leader for Mango’s 2018 gubernatorial run. She went on Moon’s podcast to discuss state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner (R-York) and his support for the Pennsylvania Fairness Act
, a bill that would provide LGBTQ Pennsylvanians the same civil-rights protections currently received by religious practitioners, minorities and immigrants. Wagner is a co-sponsor of the state senate's version of the Fairness Act.
Right before introducing D’Addesi, Moon criticized Wagner for his support of the Fairness Act. Wagner recently received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and is considered the front-runner to receive the Republican nomination in his bid to challenge Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York).
“Wagner is emerging as a pro-gay-rights Republican,” said Moon on the podcast. “If Wagner wins the nomination, Republicans will be voting for anti-religious-liberty bills en masse.”
Moon runs the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa. The church is known for “blessing ceremonies” for AR-15 rifles, which the church considers the “rod of iron,” according to the Bible’s Book of Revelations. Moon’s pro-gun stances were on full display for the Feb. 15 podcast. To open his podcast, Moon spoke about the Parkland shooting
at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and claimed that nobody could have done anything because the school was a “gun-free zone.” (An armed-police officer was stationed on the high-school campus at the time of the shooting.)
On the Feb. 15 appearance, D’Addesi did not identify herself as with the Mango campaign, though she has in the past media appearances
. She also has many social-media posts offering praise to Mango and his campaign, as well as photos taken with Mango. D’Addesi spent the first few minutes of her appearance criticizing the recent pushes to better accommodate transgender people in the U.S., saying we shouldn’t be so focused on “.006 percent of the population who thinks they are the opposite sex.”
D’Addesi also referred to the Pennsylvania Fairness Act as a “bathroom bill” and said Wagner “is pushing his extreme agenda” in sponsoring this bill. According to a 2016 poll from Public Region Research Institute
, 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support the policies of the Fairness Act.
Later in the interview, D’Addesi even suggests that women should be afraid to share a bathroom with Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine, the state’s highest ranking transgender official.
“Rachel Levine used to be Richard Levine,” said D’Addesi during the podcast. “And just take a look at the person — I mean, you would be really frightened if this person was in the bathroom with your little girl because she looks like a man. I always say to my husband, 'I adore you, I think you're really handsome, but if you were in the bathroom with me with a skirt and lipstick, I would scream bloody murder, I would be frightened.'”
Matt Beynon, an adviser to the Mango campaign, wrote in an email to City Paper
that D’Addesi is a volunteer for Mango, but she was not acting as “a surrogate nor speaking on behalf of the Mango Campaign during her recent appearance with Rev. Moon.”
“Paul Mango believes that all Pennsylvanians should be treated with respect and dignity; however, he does oppose Scott Wagner’s bathroom bill because it infringes on individual privacy, personal security, and religious liberty,” wrote Beynon referencing to the Fairness Act.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Beth Melena wrote in an email to CP
that D'Addesi is participating in hate-filled rhetoric when targeting trans individuals like Levine. She believes that Mango should cut ties with D'Addesi after her comments.
"Pennsylvania should be a place that is open and welcoming for all, but Paul Mango is supporting far-right policies and courting extremists in a desperate attempt to win the Republican primary," wrote Melena.
A request for comment from D’Addesi went unreturned.