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Days before Tuesday’s Republican primary election in Pennsylvania, Senate candidate Dr. Oz said in an interview on Saturday that a comment made by one of her main opponents, Kathy Barnette, should disqualify her.
The remark relates to a tweet from 2015 when Barnette said “paedophilia” was a fundamental tenet of the Islamic religion.
Oz. hopes to become the state’s first Muslim senator and said the comment should be “disqualifying” because it attacks those who observe the religion.
“It is reprehensible for her to tweet something that is defamatory of an entire religion,” Oz said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, days before the Republican primary in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
THIS STATE HAS THE MOST EXPENSIVE SENATE RACE IN THE COUNTRY
“This state was founded on religious freedom. I am proud as a Pennsylvanian to uphold those founding beliefs that every religion has its merits,” he added.
Barnette’s 2015 tweet read, “Pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam.”
Oz, endorsed by Trump, then predicted that Barnette would not be able to win a general election in the state that President Joe Biden barely won in 2020.
“Every time she answers a question, she raises more questions,” Oz said in the interview. “But I think it’s disqualifying to make Islamophobic and homophobic comments, not just for the general election, but also for the Republican primary.”
Barnette denied writing the tweet in an interview last week, saying, “I never would have said that.” She did not explain how the tweet could have ended up on her feed.
The Republican doctor was also asked to clarify his views on abortion, a usual hot topic in an election that came to the fore amid a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that indicated the potential cancellation of Roe v. Wade.
FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP APPROVES DR. OZ FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE IN PENNSYLVANIA
Dr Oz has described himself as ‘pro-life’ but said ‘there are times’ when he disagrees ‘with other life advocates’.
“In my case, these disagreements often arise because as a doctor I have dealt with issues that threaten the life of the mother,” he added, noting that he would welcome a provision for any potential bans. of abortion which would provide an exception. for rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
In April, Trump endorsed Oz in an email to his supporters where he called him “popular, respected and smart.”
“The Greater Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz to the United States Senate,” Trump said. “I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, albeit only through his highly successful TV show. He lived with us through the screen and was always popular , respected and intelligent.”
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“Dr. Oz is pro-life, very strong on crime, the border, voter fraud, our great military and vets, tax cuts, and will always fight for and support our Second Amendment under siege. He will ensure for America to become energy independent again,” the former president added.
Trump also endorsed Republican Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania against Republican primary candidates Lou Barletta, Bill McSwain and Dave White.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.