‘Reprehensible’: Oz condemns GOP opponent’s tweet on Islam

‘Reprehensible’: Oz condemns GOP opponent’s tweet on Islam

Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz is stepping up his criticism of far-right candidates in Pennsylvania, who are gaining ground ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

After spending much of the campaign estranged from fellow Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette, Oz said Saturday that he was out of step with the GOP and might not win the general election in November. In an interview, he took issue with a 2015 tweet by Barnette in which he wrote that “pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam.”

Oz, who would become the nation’s first Muslim senator, described the comments as “disqualifying.”

“It is reprehensible that he would tweet something that is defamatory to an entire religion,” Oz told The Associated Press. “This state was based on religious freedom. merits.”

Barnette’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Earlier in the week, Barnette told NBC News that she did not make the statement for her, which was still live on her Twitter account on Saturday.

For months, the race for the Republican nomination for the open Pennsylvania Senate seat has been a costly fight between former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and Oz, who have spent millions of dollars attacking each other on television. Each has also faced questions about their ties to Pennsylvania. McCormick grew up in the state, while Oz went to medical school there and was married in Philadelphia.

But in the closing days of the Republican primary, a third candidate emerged, Barnette, a conservative commentator who has courted hardline Trump supporters. Trump himself has warned that Barnette’s background has not been properly vetted.

With the election just days away, polls show a close three-way race with a sizable number of undecided voters who could influence next week’s results.

Oz won Trump’s endorsement in the Senate race, though some Trump supporters continue to question his conservative credentials.

Asked to clarify his views on abortion in Saturday’s interview, Oz distanced himself from Trump’s new pick for Pennsylvania governor, Doug Mastriano, a far-right conservative who called abortion “the number one issue.” one”. In a recent televised debate, Mastriano said he supports banning abortion from conception, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Oz described himself as “pro-life” but said he would prefer a Pennsylvania abortion ban that included exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

“There are times when we disagree with other defenders of life,” Oz told the AP. “In my case, those disagreements often arise because, as a doctor, I have dealt with issues that threaten the life of the mother.”

However, Oz saved his sharpest criticism for Barnette, echoing Trump’s concerns that his background hasn’t been properly vetted. He lashed out at her previous comments about Islam, noting that she too has a history of making anti-gay comments.

“We know very little,” Oz said. “Every time you answer a question, you raise more questions. But I think it’s disqualifying to make Islamophobic and homophobic comments, not just for the general election, but also for the Republican primary.”


Associated Press writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

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