Doug Mastriano is a Pennsylvania state senator and right-wing commentator who recently introduced coronavirus vaccine-related “medical freedom” legislation. He’s also been using his Facebook page to push false claims that vaccines are deadly and cause autism; that COVID-19 is a “government sponsored virus”; and that the coronavirus death toll is inflated.
Mastriano describes himself on his personal Facebook page, which has over 90,000 followers, as “a retired US Army Colonel, PhD Historian, Award Winning Author, Public Speaker, News Commentator and Senator of PA District 33.” He regularly appears in right-wing media, including on Newsmax TV.
The Republican legislator gained national attention because of his attempts in Pennsylvania to overturn the 2020 election. He organized buses to and attended the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. Mastriano said that he did not enter the Capitol. Media Matters previously reported that he used violent rhetoric prior to January 6 and appeared on a QAnon program.
Mastriano, who is a potential candidate for governor, has been in the media to tout legislation he introduced in the state Senate called “The Medical Freedom Act,” which he said includes a provision mandating “that an individual cannot be denied entry or service for refusal to provide proof of vaccination.”
Mastriano has pushed false claims about vaccinations, which are safe and do not cause autism. On April 12, he shared a Facebook video that's accompanied by text that falsely claims that “vaccines kills & causes autism” and refers to vaccines as “the government's poison.” And on March 27, he posted a video featuring disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield that falsely connects vaccines to autism.
Mastriano has also pushed other extreme rhetoric about the coronavirus. (He tested positive for COVID-19 in November.)
On July 18, he posted “a copy and paste” message that claimed that “we are being set up for something”; COVID-19 is “a government sponsored virus”; and “there are thousands of viruses that *could* affect the population, but these viruses do not matter because MSM didn't say they do.”
On May 3, he shared a meme claiming that CNN fabricates “how many corona virus victims there are.”
And on December 23, he shared a meme featuring an image of Star Trek “redshirts” -- a reference to people who are expendable -- with the caption “the first wave of people waiting for their COVID19 vaccinations.”