Kathy Barnette, now one of the frontrunners in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary, on Sunday responded to a spate of recent criticism by saying that her record is being misrepresented and distorted.
“They’re mad because I didn’t ask for permission to be in this space — I just walked in because this is my country,” the conservative political commentator said on “Fox News Sunday” of her Republican primary opponents.
Barnette responded to questions from host Shannon Bream by pointing people to her website and also by suggesting that her remarks now being described as bigoted and offensive have been taken out of context.
In recent days, Barnette has surged in the polls to join physician-TV personality Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick atop the GOP field. The surge by Barnette has led to other candidates targeting her over some of her past statements, as well as inconsistencies in her personal record.
Barnette said the anti-Muslim statements that Bream displayed in Sunday’s interview needed to be considered in context.
“The overwhelming majority of the tweets that are now being presented are not even full thoughts,” she said.
“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,” she said. “What I can say — although I can’t provide a lot of context to that because it’s a half thought and everything is not there for me to be able to speak to it — what I can say is that I love my country.”
On Saturday, Oz assailed Barnette for her statements attacking Islam and its adherents, saying: “It’s reprehensible that she would tweet out something that is defamatory to an entire religion.” Even former President Donald Trump has said he doubted she could win the general election. The winner of Tuesday’s primary is expected to face Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November for the open Senate seat.
Looking beyond those statements, the National Review, among other publications, raised questions about her past, including questions on her military service, when and where she taught as an adjunct professor, and when she moved to Pennsylvania.
Barnette insisted that she had not misrepresented who she is, saying the proof was available on her campaign website.
“I have not embellished on my record, on my time in the military,” she said. “And I’m very grateful that I had the wonderful opportunity to serve our country.”
Barnette also expressed surprise that her background is suddenly drawing so much attention.
“If you listen to the mainstream media, you would think I crawled from under a rock yesterday. I did not. We’ve been out here for 13 months,” she said.