The Pennsylvania Republican Senate hopeful's campaign condemned the same type of 'pathetic and xenophobic' attacks that former President Donald Trump often used as a candidate.
Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz's campaign blasted a primary rival for "pathetic and xenophobic" attacks against him. In the same statement, Oz's campaign touted an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who has frequently pushed similar bigoted tropes.
On Friday, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — a campaign surrogate for hedge fund millionaire and Pennsylvania Republican Senate hopeful Dave McCormick — alleged that Oz's dual citizenship in the United States and Turkey and his participation in Turkey's 2018 elections raises "national security concerns" about his loyalties.
"Not only did he not engage in the American [process] but he engaged in the Turkish political process. That raises in my mind a lot of judgments about his priority," Pompeo told reporters.
An Oz spokesperson denounced Pompeo's comments, telling media outlets that McCormick's campaign was to blame.
"Now that he lost President Trump's endorsement, he's resorted to sad and desperate attacks that are no different than the tropes used against Catholics and Jews. Dr. Oz has already said when elected to the Senate he would renounce his [Turkish] citizenship," said campaign communications director Brittany Yanick.
Trump himself has repeatedly used this exact type of antisemitic attack, arguing that Jewish Americans should vote for Republican candidates because of their loyalties to Israel.
In April 2019, he implied to a group of Jewish Republicans that their true loyalties lay with Israel, referring to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "your prime minister" and warning that if Democratic politicians gained power they would leave Israel "out there all by yourselves."
In August 2019, Trump claimed Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show "either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," since he was a strong supporter of Netanyahu and his government.
In December of 2021, Trump pushed a similar antisemitic claim. "There's people in this country that are Jewish, no longer love Israel. I'll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country," he told an Israel-based reporter for Axios. "It used to be that Israel had absolute power over Congress. And today I think it's the exact opposite. And I think Obama and Biden did that."
He also spread other offensive antisemitic tropes, implying that Jewish people were all rich money-grubbers. "But you have to vote for me; you have no choice," he told the Israeli American Council in December 2019. "You're not going to vote for Pocahontas," he said, using his racist nickname for then-Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. "You're not going to vote for the wealth tax. Yeah, let's take 100% of your wealth away."
Trump endorsed Oz in the primary, arguing that being a celebrity doctor qualified him to be a U.S. senator. "You know when you're in television for 18 years, that's like a poll. That means people like you," he said.
An Oz spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry for this story.
A Franklin & Marshall College survey this week found that Oz has 18% support in the Republican primary, McCormick 16%, and unsuccessful 2020 House candidate Kathy Barnette 12%.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds a wide lead in the Democratic primary.
The winners will face off in November to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.