Frank Scavo, a Lackawanna County school board chair, businessman, and Republican candidate for state House, apologized this week for posting anti-Muslim statements on his personal Facebook page.
A review of Scavo’s social media from March 2018 to the present by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star revealed he posted anti-Muslim scaremongering and shared an unsubstantiated Clinton conspiracy theory.
The Scranton Times-Tribune followed up by looking into Scavo’s posts going back to 2015, some of which “portrayed Muslims as terrorists, pedophiles or rapists.” Scavo has since deleted his personal Facebook page.
On several occasions, Scavo repeated the lie that former President Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to the paper. And when then-candidate Donald Trump promised a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslim immigration to the U.S. in December 2015, Scavo posted: “In light of Donald Trumps comments, I am immediately disavowing President Barack Obama in favor of Trumps # AMERICA FIRST IMMIGRATION POLICY. thank you.”
Speaking to a Times-Tribune reporter, Scavo apologized for the posts, saying he was wrapped up in the “crazy” following the late 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, California. Some of the posts predate the attacks.
Scavo is currently the president of the Old Forge School District board. He unsuccessfully ran for state Senate last year against Democratic incumbent Sen. John Blake.
In a statement Friday, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party called for state and Lackawanna County Republican leaders to denounce Scavo “for views so vile as those expressed by [him] when he thought no one was paying attention.”
“Frank Scavo’s hurtful and hateful comments have revealed his character. Any person who makes comments that denigrate entire communities and insult anyone strictly based off of their religion is not fit for any public office, be it school board or state representative,” Democratic Executive Director Sinceré Harris said in a statement.
The Capital-Star reached out to the Old Forge School District, the state and Lackawanna County GOP, and GOP County Commissioner Laureen Cummings for reaction. The district said they were unaware of Scavo’s posts previously and declined to comment. The state GOP also declined to comment, and Cummings did not reply to a request for comment.
While the Lackawanna County GOP did not reply to a request for comment from the Capital-Star, party chair Lance Stange told the Times-Tribune in a statement that “the views expressed in these posts do not express the views of the Republican Party.”
“These posts add nothing to the thorough civil discourse we should be having. We all need to be better than this and focus on substantive solutions to the problems facing Pennsylvanians and Americans.”*
‘I told you this would happen’
Scavo didn’t share anti-Muslim statements on Facebook alone.
An examination of what appears to be his Twitter account, @scavman3, shows Scavo spread disinformation and showed distrust for Islam in tweets before and after the 2015 terror attacks.
In May 2017, Scavo shared a tweet from the Drudge Report on a story about a “Muslim girls only” prom at a Michigan high school. He commented, “I told you this would happen…Muslims won’t stop until they rule the world…I didn’t make up the CALIPHATE term! #slowdeath.”
The event, funded by private donations, took place in the first majority-Muslim city in the U.S. It was held so girls could go without a hijab, or head covering worn in front of unrelated boys and men.
A few days later, on May 24, Scavo shared an image of Ariana Grande that claimed the pop singer said “Islam is love” at a Hilary Clinton campaign event in August 2016. There is no evidence that Grande attended a Clinton rally or said those words.
“And so many Foolish Infidels still believe,” Scavo said of the image.
He shared the post one day after a bomb exploded at a Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom. The attack, claimed by ISIS, killed 22 people and injured 59 others.
Scavo also referenced a conspiracy theory in at least one tweet.
Last year, he tweeted that former Arizona Sen. John McCain’s funeral was “full court for the NEW WORLD ORDER…AZ crushed under illegal immigration crime and MCCAIN failed his constits [sic].”
Scavo’s opponent in the March 12 special election is Democrat Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, who declined to comment on the Facebook posts to the Capital-Star and Times-Tribune.
The seat, which Trump won in 2016 by a slim margin, has been open since Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich died in October — too close to election day to take his name off the ballot.
The district includes Scranton’s northern and western suburbs, including Carbondale.
This story was updated with comment from the state Democratic Party and the Lackawanna County GOP, and with tweets from an account that appears to belong to Frank Scavo.