U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., is apologizing for what he terms “vile” and “disgusting” comments he made on social media in 2009 and 2011.
He posted joking remarks about rape and about his friend possibly having sex with 15-year-old girls.
That friend is now his campaign manager as Mast seeks re-election in congressional District 18.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 anchor Michael Williams interviewed the Republican lawmaker Friday at his Treasure Coast home about the firestorm the newly surface comments have created.
“I’m sorry for making inappropriate, vile, disgusting, unacceptable jokes in my past,” Mast said. “There is no excuse for it. I think to give any kind of excuse is to cheapen the apology I owe for saying something so stupid, and I don’t want to cheapen that apology. I think it would be wrong to do so.”
Mast, the lead sponsor for a military rape survivors bill before Congress said he has “grown” since those days as a younger man serving in the U.S. Army.
The now-married father of four told Williams, “Thankfully, I do thank God. I’m a different person (than) said that. That’s why I say to those that say you should step down or something like that — that was a different person than the person you are with right now.”
Williams asked Mast if he would consider resigning from office, and his reply was an emphatic, “absolutely not.”
Mast faces Democratic opponent Pam Keith, a Navy veteran, in the congressional race covering Martin, St. Lucie, and parts of Palm Beach County.
You can see Mast’s full interview — including a response to Keith’s criticism — on “To The Point” hosted by Michael Williams Sunday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m. right after “Meet the Press” on WPTV NewsChannel 5.
Mast and Williams talk about the race for the White House as the political season — locally and nationally — goes into high gear.