Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette addressed several recent controversies over her record on Sunday, as she continues to surge in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
Speaking with host Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday,” Barnette responded to criticisms about parts of her past that have come under fire in recent days, including questions about her military service record and insensitive tweets she had made in the past. She also blasted her primary opponents for raising controversy, claiming that they were “mad” because of her recent rise.
“So I want to give you a chance to answer some of these questions and your critics,” Bream began the interview. She pointed to criticisms leveled by former President Donald Trump, who said Thursday that Barnette “will never be able to win the General Election” and criticized her for having “many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted.” Barnette’s primary opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, echoed those criticisms.
Bream began with questions about Barnette’s military record. “You have now released a couple of forms related to your service. Your website, your bio says you served for 10 years. Critics say those forms do not prove that out. Your response?” Bream asked.
“That is not true. Those forms do prove just that,” Barnette responded. “I have never — I have not embellished on my record, on my time in the military. And I’m very grateful that I had the wonderful opportunity to serve our country.”
According to her website, Barnette served in the Army Reserve and National Guard from 1990 to 2000. Included on her website are photographs of her DD214 certificate of discharge from active duty, a record of service form, and her discharge documents from both the Army reserve and National Guard.
“Where were you an adjunct college professor?” Bream asked next.
Barnette answered, pointing to a module on her website which linked to a page that answers a number of outstanding questions. According to that page, titled, “Things You Want To Know,” Barnette was an adjunct professor at Judson University, a small Christian college in Elgin, Illinois.
“OK. When did you move to Pennsylvania?” Bream continued.
“[We’ve] lived here for nine years, going into our 10th year,” Barnette replied. “I’ve raised two of my babies here.”
Bream then questioned her about several insensitive tweets. Bream quoted: “you said ‘if you love freedom, Islam must not be allowed to thrive under any condition. You’ve got tweets about former President Obama, one of them in 2016 says ‘Obama is a Muslim doing Muslim-like things.’ He has said that he is not, he is a practicing Christian. So any context then for those particular tweets?”
The context, Barnette explained, was that she made the tweets in the midst of several high-profile news events involving people from Muslim backgrounds. “we had the Obama administration bringing in a lot of Syrian refugees at that time …We were looking at the Pulse nightclub shooting. We were watching people take vehicles, weaponize them, and run people down in the street. We were looking at the San Bernadino shooting. We were looking at some very unnerving things that as Americans we thought would never happen here.”
She also said that many of her tweets were not fully thought out. “The overwhelming majority of the tweets that are now being presented are not even full thoughts. They’re not even full sentences. And yet, people take it and they begin to build their own narrative around it. So I can’t provide a lot of context because, again, it’s almost 10 years ago. That’s how far they have to go back to try to find anything on me.”
Barnette closed the interview by blasting Oz and fellow challenger David McCormick, while touting her own accomplishments.
“We had seven debates and Mehmet Oz and David McCormick only showed up to two,” she said. “We had a number of forums and I can only recall them showing up to two. And then while they were attacking one another on television, I was out here with the people. We spent less than $2 million and they’re mad. They’re mad because I didn’t ask for permission to be in this space. I just walked in because this is my country. And our country is in trouble. And I don’t believe we have anymore room to elect warm bodies with an R next to their name and say hey, check, Republicans win. We don’t win. It’s not working out for us.”