Surging GOP Candidate's Homophobic Views Have Some Worried She is Too Extreme

Friday May 13, 2022

Kathy Barnette
Kathy Barnette  (Source:Associated Press)

What appeared to be a dead-heat run for Pennsylvania Senate between Donald Trump-endorsed former TV star Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) and former hedge fund manager David McCormick next fall is suddenly up in the air.

The reason? The wildcard candidacy of GOP Senate candidate Kathy Barnette in the primary election to be held on Tuesday, May 17. According to a recent Fox News poll, the frontrunner McCormick has seen his lead erode as both Oz and Barnette have surged. "The race remains wide open as the top three candidates are within the survey's margin of sampling error, and 18% are undecided on who they will back in the May 17 primary."

With Trump supporting Oz and a huge campaign chest, his candidacy was expected to surge. Barnette is another matter.

"Oz has closed the gap, and the parallels with J.D. Vance in Ohio are obvious," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. "But McCormick and Barnette have considerable support, and with one out of five voters uncommitted, odds are that the vote will be very close."

"Even though Oz got Trump's endorsement, Barnette has more momentum," says Anderson. "Her support doubled in two months, her supporters are the most interested, and her negatives are much lower than Oz or McCormick."

But while she's surging, Trump warns that Barnette's extreme views would make her toxic to voters in the fall. "In fact," the Daily Beast said, "on Wednesday afternoon, it seemed like anyone with a Fox News show or a follower count in the six-digits on MAGA Twitter is speaking with the same voice: if Kathy Barnette wins the primary Tuesday, she is going to lose the Senate seat to a Democrat."

But Barnette, AP reported, has dismissed Trump's endorsement of Oz, saying Trump's Make America Great slogan, or MAGA, "does not belong to President Trump. MAGA, although he coined the word, MAGA actually belongs to the people."

Barnette had previously run for Congress in 2020, but lost to a Democrat, according to CNN. "She is best known as an Army Reserves veteran and conservative political commentator who regularly appeared on Fox, and previously she was the host of a Christian radio show called 'Truth Exchange,' which also had a website where she sometimes blogged."

CNN said that since her surge this week, she is being called out for her anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements. "In one speech uploaded to YouTube in 2015, Barnette forcefully argued it was OK to discriminate against Muslims and compared rejecting Islam to '... rejecting Hitler's or Stalin's worldviews.' In comments on her radio show, she said accepting homosexuality would lead to the accepting of incest and pedophilia. One post she wrote called a transgender person 'deformed' and 'demonic.'"

On her radio show in July, 2015 she said: "Two men sleeping together, two men holding hands, two men caressing, that is not normal." She was responding to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage.

On the same show, Barnette argued accepting same-sex marriage would lead to a "slippery slope" of accepting incest and pedophilia, in an episode that was deleted from her SoundCloud page after CNN's KFile reached out to the Barnette campaign for comment.

"If love is the litmus test, who are we to say, well, your love is legitimate love, same-sex couples, but your love, father and daughter, is not legitimate. Or your love, one man and three women, is not legitimate, or one older man and a 12-year-old child. If love is the litmus test, it becomes a very slippery slope. And that is where we, we find ourselves today."

Barnette even attacked fellow GOP personality Caitlyn Jenner. "In one 2015 post, Barnette attacked the transgender former reality star and Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner as 'deformed' and 'demonic,' while attacking what she called a 'barrage to normalize sexual perversion,'" CNN said. "In comments in the same post, Barnette warned of a 'take-over' occurring by the 'Homosexual agenda."'

On another show from the same time, Barnette hosted "two ex-gays" to show "the real story behind all those happy 'gay' photos we see, & God's Redemptive story in both of their lives." One conversation featured the president of "Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)." In one post from 2010, Barnette wrote the "homosexual AGENDA" seeks "domination." In a post in 2013, Barnette said America couldn't coexist with the "Homosexual agenda."

"The aggressive homosexual agenda is coming soon to a kitchen table near you," she wrote.

Amongst her anti-Muslim comments is a posting on her website of an "obviously doctored image of a Muslim man holding up a sign in front of the rubble of the World Trade Center that said, 'Vote Democrat! We need your help to kill you,'" CNN reported.

"Speaking in December 2015, in a speech posted online, Barnette argued it was acceptable to discriminate against Muslims and Islam, comparing it to rejecting the worldviews of Stalin and Hitler, leaders who systematically discriminated against and ordered the killing of millions of people -- including Jews, people with disabilities, Slavs and gay men."

She said: "You are not a racist if you reject Islam, or if you reject Muslims, because they are not a race of people. They are a particular view. They are people that have a particular view of the world, and we have a right to discriminate against worldviews. We discriminated against Hitler's Nazi Germany view of the world, right? That was a worldview. That's how he saw the world around him. And we discriminated against it. We rejected it. We rejected Stalin's view...of the world, right? Because that's a particular view of the world that we don't agree with."

"We have the right to discriminate against worldviews because all views are not morally equal," she added. "All views are not equal. So we have the right to reject it. And let me just say offhand, I reject how Muslims see the world."