- Kathy Barnette, a Pennsylvania candidate for Senate, tweeted “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam” in 2015.
- Dr. Oz, who would be the first Muslim US senator if elected, said the tweet was “reprehensible.”
- Barnette denied ever tweeting the statement, but it was still on her Twitter as of Saturday night.
Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz said GOP opponent Kathy Barnette is “reprehensible” for a tweet posted in 2015 in which she said Islam is based on pedophilia.
“It’s reprehensible that she would tweet out something that is defamatory to an entire religion,” Oz, who would be the first Muslim US senator if elected, told The Associated Press. “This state was based on religious freedom. I’m proud as a Pennsylvanian to uphold those founding beliefs that every faith has its merits.”
Barnette, who has recently been making headlines for moving up in the polls for the Pennsylvania Senate race, tweeted a link in 2015 to a post from the now-defunct conservative site UFP News with the headline “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam.”
Barnette denied tweeting the story, even after NBC News Correspondent Dasha Burns showed her the tweet during an interview on “Meet the Press.”
“I don’t think that’s me. I would never have said that,” Barnette replied.
The tweet, however, was still up as of Saturday evening.
Barnette has posted other Islamaphobic and homophobic tweets, including one where she condemned former President Barack Obama for supporting “all things homosexual” and “all things Muslim,” and another one calling for a ban on Islam in America.
Barnette’s polling numbers were bolstered after she released an anti-abortion campaign ad following reports that national abortion rights may be overturned by the Supreme Court.
In the Pennsylvania primary race, she is currently polling at number two, behind Oz, and has found support among voters frustrated by former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Oz.
Barnette has been endorsed by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano, the Club for Growth, and the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.
Representatives for Barnette and Oz did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.