The Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania joked with supporters that the Russian government would help him win in the November election.
"By the way, the Russians are going to help me with Tom Wolf," Scott Wagner said to an audience in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania in a tape provided by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to Huffington Post. "If I have to use Paul Manafort, I will," he added, referring to Donald Trump's former campaign manager, who faces money laundering and tax evasion charges resulting from the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
A Wagner campaign spokesman said that the Republican nominee was "obviously joking when he made those comments."
Plenty of people, however, apparently took the joke too seriously, calling it a "disgrace" and for the candidate to be boycotted.
He’s not joking. The entire GOP are traitors to America. pic.twitter.com/jF2UE9lWh1— News View (@NewsView100) 21 августа 2018 г.
This is disgraceful as an American citizen @realScottWagner. This is the new Trump GOP. The new @gop philosophy is to win in at all costs even if it means cheating. I strongly urge Independents in Pennsylvania not to support Republican Scott Wagner on this basis.— Independent Voice (Unbiased & Objective) (@fitmind1) 21 августа 2018 г.
Hilarious, Senator Scott Wagner. You just put yourself on a lot of people’s radar.— Griz (@grizatlcp) 20 августа 2018 г.
Sure that was a joke? I'm not. Wasn't there scales-tilting in the Pennsylvania 2016 elections? Is he just saying, "keep it up, Boris, it worked pretty well last time"?— Richard Hanson (@RichardH1818) 21 августа 2018 г.
Treason isn’t funny— ATLAS_TWENTY18 (@ATwenty18) 21 августа 2018 г.
Last month, Special Counsel Mueller accused 12 Russian intelligence officers of interfering in the 2016 vote.
This came amid an ongoing FBI inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia. Moscow has been accused of hacking Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton's emails and trying to sway the vote in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump. Both Trump and the Kremlin have repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming that no evidence of collusion has been provided so far.