May 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Oz calls Kathy Barnette's tweet on Islam "disqualifying"

Mehmet Oz speaking during a forum in Newtown, Pennsylvania, on May 11.
Mehmet Oz speaks during a forum in Newtown, Pa., on May 11. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz called a 2015 tweet from Kathy Barnette "reprehensible" in an interview with AP on Saturday, just days before Tuesday’s primary election.

Why it matters: Oz, who would be the country's first Muslim senator, said Barnette's tweet, in which she said “[p]edophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam," is "disqualifying."

  • Barnette, a previously unimaginable prospect who's been soaring in the polls ahead of the primary vote, has triggered a belated "oh s--t" moment among influential Republicans in Washington, Axios' Jonathan Swan, Lachlan Markay and Andrew Solender previously report.

What they're saying: “It’s reprehensible that she would tweet out something that is defamatory to an entire religion,” Oz told AP.

  • “This state was based on religious freedom. I’m proud as a Pennsylvanian to uphold those founding beliefs that every faith has its merits.”

The big picture: The GOP primary for the seat had been an expensive contest largely between David McCormick and Oz before Barnette gained traction among the GOP base.

  • Former President Trump questioned the details of her past in a statement last week, warning that there are things that have "not been properly explained or vetted" with her candidacy.

Go deeper: What to know about Kathy Barnette

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