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Gov. Tom Wolf issues statement calling for the censure of Republican lawmaker for his 'thinly veiled attack' on LGBTQ community and Dr. Rachel Levine

The governor called for the House to censure State Rep. Russ Diamond for his statement Wednesday addressing 'hateful comments towards unmasked community'
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2019 file photo Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa. The FBI is investigating how Wolf’s administration came to issue permits for construction on a multibillion-dollar pipeline to carry natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Marc Levy, File)

Update, 1:40 p.m.: State Rep. Russ Diamond issued another statement, this one in response to Governor Tom Wolf's call for the House Republican leadership to censure him.

Diamond's statement mocked Wolf's, calling the governor's actions "abhorrent, unlawful, political and deadly."

He then renewed his call for Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine to resign.

Read Diamond's full statement here.

At an appearance at a Lancaster EMS facility in Millersville Thursday, the governor said in response to questions that he would allow his statement earlier today to speak for itself, and added neither he nor Levine had any plans to step down.

Original Story

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday issued a press release rebuking a Republican lawmaker for spreading "hate and misinformation" and called for Pennsylvania House leadership to censure him for making a "thinly veiled attack" on Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in a statement Wednesday.

State Rep. Russ Diamond posted a statement on social media that "addresses hateful comments toward (the) unmasked community." 

The statement contained identical quotes to some made by Levine a day earlier, when the Secretary of Health, who is transgender, made a statement in response to attacks against the LGBTQ community, including some against her personally.

In his statement Thursday, Wolf said Diamond's comments were "abhorrent, disrespectful, dangerous" and that "there are no words that adequately describe my disdain for the antics Rep. Diamond displayed in his latest missive."

“Rep. Diamond’s press release is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on the LGBTQ community and the commonwealth’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, and a nationally respected leader in public health, whose bravery and resolve in the face of constant attacks is laudable," Wolf's statement said.

“Virtually no thinking person disputes mask-wearing as an effective means to stop the spread of COVID. Proud non-mask-wearers such as Rep. Diamond are not displaying their freedom, but rather their ignorance and lack of respect for themselves, their families, neighbors and communities when they don’t wear a mask, and are likely leading to more spread of this dangerous virus.

“To equate any disrespect for those not wearing masks to the decades of disrespect, threats and violence against our LGBTQ community goes far beyond the hallmarks of a decent society. For these actions to come from a legislator elected to fairly represent all his constituents is simply unforgivable.

“I am calling on Republican House leadership to introduce a resolution to censure the representative immediately. We need the Republicans to stop spreading misinformation to the general public, and we badly need them to be more responsible and more responsive to the health and wellbeing of all Pennsylvanians. This dangerous, reckless behavior is not welcome in Pennsylvania.”  

RELATED: Dr. Rachel Levine responds to recent incidents mocking her gender identity