(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania House Republicans want state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence, to resign following a report he posted videos to social media in which he encouraged his 5-year-old son to smoke a cigar and use vulgar language.
USA TODAY Network reported Bernstine, a two-term lawmaker, posted the videos to his since-deleted Snapchat account. He also encouraged his son to play “an adult-themed game with another youngster,” according to the report.
“As parents and fellow legislators, we are disgusted by Rep. Bernstine’s conduct,” the leadership of the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus said in a statement. “In order to take the time necessary to focus on his family and repair his relationships, we call on Rep. Bernstine to immediately resign.”
Bernstine was elected to the state House in 2016, and he faces a November challenge from Democrat candidate Kolbe Cole and United Party candidate Johnathan Peffer. Both candidates also called on Bernstine to resign, according to published reports.
But, Bernstine did not resign in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday. Instead, he asked for continued support.
I vow to do better..... pic.twitter.com/TUnA4YvFAM— Aaron Bernstine (@AaronBernstine) October 8, 2020
“It was a private vacation with my son and his friends and several of their parents, and it was jokes that went way too far,” Bernstine said. “For that, I’m truly sorry. I have to do a much better job as a role model for my child. I’ll continue to work on that, and me and my family are addressing it as a private matter.”
Leading up to the election, “there’s going to be a lot of other things that people try to put out – some of them true, some of them manipulated and some of them just downright false,” Bernstine added. “Now, the party bosses of both sides are going to try to take advantage of this situation. I’ve seen it in Harrisburg during my last three-and-a-half years there. They’ll continue to pound away on things just to try to make and score political points.”