Mastriano to Hannity at York town hall: I’d bus migrants to Biden's home state of Delaware

Bethany Rodgers and Mike Argento
York Daily Record

Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano on Wednesday vowed that if he wins election to Pennsylvania's top office, he’ll begin busing illegal immigrants to President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.

“On Day 1, we’re no longer a sanctuary state. When those ghost flights show up, our beautiful Pennsylvania State Police will escort those busloads of illegals down to Delaware,” Mastriano said during a Fox News town hall hosted by Sean Hannity in York, Pennsylvania. “Joe Biden can have them.”

His description of transporting migrants echoed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent move to fly several dozen migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a maneuver denounced by Democrats and immigration advocates.

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But after hearing Mastriano’s plan for addressing immigration and other issues, Hannity praised the Republican candidate, who’s facing off against Democrat Josh Shapiro in the gubernatorial contest.

“That’s a pretty good platform,” Hannity said.

Doug Mastriano, Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, speaks during a rally at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie on Oct. 14, 2022.

Mastriano’s mention of “ghost flights” refers to a GOP claim that the Biden administration is covertly dropping off undocumented immigrants in various states. 

It's a reference to the routine procedure of transporting migrant children, many of them to federally licensed shelters where they can be reunited with family members. The same procedure was used during former President Donald Trump’s term, The New York Times has reported. 

Mastriano, a state senator, has also said he wanted to introduce legislation to transport undocumented immigrants from Pennsylvania to Delaware.  

Hannity, Oz pile on Fetterman during town hall

While Mastriano appeared near the end of Hannity’s town hall, the majority of the hour-long program centered on Pennsylvania’s Senate race and gave Republican Mehmet Oz a platform to deliver a barrage of attacks against his opponent, Democrat John Fetterman. 

Hannity began the town hall by mocking Fetterman for his clothing style (the Democratic lieutenant governor is known for eschewing a suit-and-tie for a hoodie and shorts) and then on his recovery from a life-threatening stroke in May. 

The pile-on continued after Oz took the stage in the Valencia Ballroom in York, where Hannity taped his show in front of an audience.

Oz, a surgeon-turned-celebrity doctor, said voters recently have realized the “stark contrast” between him and Fetterman. The Democratic candidate had been leading by a wide margin over the summer, but Oz has closed much of that gap in the lead-up to Election Day. 

“All of a sudden, over the last few weeks, more and more Pennsylvanians are doing their homework; smart people,” he said. “And they’re realizing who he is and what we stand for.” 

More: Fetterman's lead on Oz slips as Shapiro's widens over Mastriano in USA TODAY/Suffolk poll

After that, Oz proceeded to accuse Fetterman of being soft on crime and blame Democratic policies for problems of violence and drug addiction in various parts of the state. The GOP candidate also called for creating a federal fund that could help parents send their children to parochial schools and spoke about supporting fossil fuel extraction.  

“Allow natural gas to be unleashed in Pennsylvania,” he said. 

Newt Gingrich defends Dr. Oz

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., joined the program a bit later to defend Oz’s Pennsylvania bona fides — something that has come into question over the course of the campaign. 

Oz’s opponents have labeled him a carpetbagger for moving to Pennsylvania about a year before he announced his candidacy. And Fetterman recently tried to drive the point home by stationing billboards outside the Eagles stadium accusing Oz of rooting for the Cowboys. 

But Gingrich vouched for Oz, saying he’d known the doctor for years, dating back to “when he was already an Eagles fan.”

The town hall also included Sens. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, and Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, who decried the crime in various parts of the nation and advocated for more natural gas extraction.

Town hall attendees said they were unhappy with nation's direction

Eric Murach made the 40-minute drive from his home in Boiling Springs to York Wednesday morning, arriving at his destination, the Valencia Ballroom in York, at about 12:30 p.m. 

He wanted to make sure he was able to get in the ballroom for that afternoon’s town hall meeting. 

“You don’t know how long the line’s going to be,” the 73-year-old mechanical engineer said. “I didn’t want to get here one person too late.” 

He had little to fear. By 3:30 p.m., when the doors opened for the 5 p.m. town hall, the line was only halfway down the block on North George Street. It did not appear that the ballroom would be filled to capacity.

More:Control of the Senate is now a coin flip: These are the midterm election races to watch

He said he came to the campaign event because “I want to hear these people.”  

He is a registered Republican and he said he supports Oz. “Dr. Oz’s opponent is a joke,” he said. Of Oz, he said, the TV doctor “has a pretty good track record.” 

That record includes, as far as he knows, “he was a doctor and somehow got into television.” He said he never watched Oz’s show, but his wife had. “I don’t like that stuff,” he said. “But I guess he did a good job at it. He made money at it.” 

Eric Murach, a 73-year-old retired mechanical engineer, drove from Boiling Springs to York to attend Mehmet Oz's town hall meeting at the Valencia Ballroom. He arrived at the ballroom at 12:30 p.m. for the 5 p.m. town hall. He said he wanted to make sure he got in.

Farther back the line, Steve Becker, a 69-year-old produce wholesaler from Dillsburg and a Republican committeeman, said he wanted to view Oz in person “to see how he comes across.” 

“It seemed like a fun thing to do,” he said. 

He said he believes “people are looking for a change. There certainly is a lot of dissatisfaction with how things are going nationally and in the state.” 

Deanne Bardo, a 57-year-old self-described “trophy wife” from Dover, echoed that sentiment. Her husband worked for General Electric and his job required overseas postings. She recalled living in India where those with wealth lived behind the walls of compounds and, when you stepped outside the walls, you saw people living in shacks constructed from corrugated steel with no running water. 

“That’s the direction we’re going in this country,” she said. “You have the elites and you have the poor.” 

She also decried the state of politics in this country.  

“Have you ever seen politics be so nasty?” she asked. “I’m sure it was ugly during Vietnam, but this is the ugliest time ever.”