One of Dr. Oz’s opponents in the tightly contested Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary has a history of bigoted comments toward Muslims, a review of tweets and online content by The Post shows.
Political commentator Kathy Barnette’s incendiary comments first emerged seven years ago when she likened Muslims to “animals.”
“We must stop interacting with them as if they r rational human beings. There is nothing rational about Islam,” Barnette, 50, tweeted in 2015. The same year she shared an article titled “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam.”
“Most think ISIS is just the radical group. No, they are the authentic Muslim,” she said in another 2015 tweet. In 2017 she said Islam should be “banned in the USA.”
In a 2016 blog post Barnette shared an image of a man in traditional Muslim garb holding a sign reading “Vote Democrat! We need your help to kill you!” The background featured rubble from the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Recent polls show Barnette is running neck and neck with financier David McCormick and Mehmet Oz — a cardiothoracic surgeon and television host, who would be the first Muslim ever elected to the Senate if he wins the May 17 primary and triumphs in the November general election.
When asked to comment on Barnette’s rhetoric, Oz demurred. “There are a lot of questions about her views that are clearly out of touch with Pennsylvanians,” his spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said.
“I have many concerns with Mehmet Oz being elected to the US Senate. His religion is not one of them,” Barnette told The Post, downplaying her past remarks.
Barnette has been outspent 358-to-1 on TV ads by her well-funded rivals, and insiders say she has likely benefited from the scorched-Earth campaign between Oz and McCormick.
Though Oz has been endorsed by Trump and McCormick has bought up nearly every consultant in the former president’s world, both candidates are viewed with suspicion by the faithful.
For Oz, critics have zeroed in on past statements in favor of gun control and transgender rights. McCormick has taken heat for his deep ties to China.
For many disenchanted with both candidates, Barnette is viewed as a purist.
“She has had multiple moments on the campaign trial where she has defended the America First agenda, but without having to sit there and kiss up to Trump,” said GOP consultant Ryan Girdusky.
Fresh off the winning campaign of Ohio’s J.D. Vance, Girdusky said Barnette stood a good shot at winning. “If I were a betting man, I would bet on her,” he said.