Friday May 13, 2022

Former president Donald Trump half-heartedly criticised Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette as unelectable, as his preferred candidate in Pennsylvania’s Senate primary continues to have troubles.

Many conservatives criticised Mr Trump for endorsing former television host and physician Dr Mehmet Oz in the primary, despite conservative dissatisfaction. A recent Fox News poll showed that Dr Oz shot up seven points, from 15 per cent in March to 22 per cent in May, but also found that 46 per cent of Republican primary voters had a negative opinion of former television host.

Conversely, the same poll showed that Ms Barnette, a Black woman veteran and conservative commentator, surged from nine per cent in March to 19 per cent, putting her within the margin of error and right behind Mr Trump’s preferred candidate. The Club for Growth released an ad supporting her this week.

But Mr Trump raised concerns after Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin unearthed Islamophobic tweets from Ms Barnette.

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“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” Mr Trump said in a statement. “She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party—and I will be behind her all the way.”

Despite saying he would support her if she clears up concerns, he still defended his endorsement.

“Dr Oz is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the Crazed, Lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania,” he said in likely reference to Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the frontrunner for the Democratic Senate nomination. “A vote for anyone else in the Primary is a vote against Victory in the Fall!”

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The former president became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania since 1988 in 2016 but lost the Keystone State in 2020 to President Joe Biden. Republicans are currently running to replace retiring Senator Pat Toomey, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Mr Trump for his role in the 6 January insurrection.

Mr Trump remains incredibly influential and initially endorsed Sean Parnell before Mr Parnell ended his campaign after a child custody case revealed allegations that he abused his estranged wife and children.

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