State Rep. Jason Ortitay holding fundraiser with controversial far-right pundit Matt Walsh | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

State Rep. Jason Ortitay holding fundraiser with controversial far-right pundit Matt Walsh

click to enlarge Jason Ortitay
Jason Ortitay
State Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Cecil) has been attempting to position himself as a rarity in modern-day politics: a moderate Republican. He has been known to call out President Donald Trump for his petty or racist comments. In July, Ortitay denounced vandalism carried out by white nationalists near the office of state Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Lawrenceville). But he remains in line with republican platforms in his opposition to increasing budgets and creating a severance tax and natural-gas drillers.

But an upcoming fundraiser Ortitay is hosting runs in contrast to that moderate streak. On Oct. 17, far-right pundit Matt Walsh will be speaking at a campaign event in Canonsburg. In an invite for the event, Walsh, who works for conservative news site The Daily Wire, is described as a "writer, speaker, author, and one of the religious Right’s most influential young voices” who is known for “boldly tackling the tough subjects and speaking out on faith and culture in a way that connects with his generation and beyond.”

Some of Walsh’s on-air comments paint a much more extreme picture. Left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters compiled a list of comments made by Walsh and other commentators at the Daily Wire.

Walsh has made several comments insulting feminists, LGTBQ people, and progressive lawmakers.

In March, Walsh claimed that “insecurity is what drives” feminists and that feminists are “insecure about the fact that they themselves are not men.”

He is fervently anti-LGBTQ and voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage. According to a 2017 Public Religion Research Institute poll, 64 percent of Pennsylvanians support same-sex marriage and only 27 percent oppose it.

In March, Walsh said if there is trans acceptance in society, “Western civilization is over.” In September, he claimed the existence of trans people means archaeologists and anthropologists "won't be able to do their jobs anymore."
Walsh said in May of Palestinian-American U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is American-born: “There is no evidence at all that she is loyal to America.”

Trump infamously tweeted in July a reference Tlaib and three other progressive reps, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Trump’s tweet was widely denounced as racist, and even Ortitay criticized it by tweeting “Stop. This is horrible...beyond horrible...there’s no need for this.”
A request for comment to the Ortitay campaign went unanswered.

Others are calling out the state representative for his invitation to Walsh.

Mike Mikus is a Democratic strategist and a constituent in Ortitay’s district, which encompasses several townships in the southwest of Allegheny County, including Collier and South Fayette, as well as parts of northern Washington County.

“It is astonishing that Jason Ortitay would have an event with self-proclaimed ‘theocratic facist,’” says Mikus. “By hosting this event, Ortitay now owns Walsh’s bigoted views.”

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