(WHTM) – Kathy Barnette has faced increasing questions regarding her background as her poll numbers surge less than a week from the May 17 Pennsylvania Senate race.
Former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Mehmet Oz in the Republican primary, released a statement on Twitter criticizing Barnette saying she “will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats.”
“She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted,” said Trump, echoing concerns of State Rep. Frank Ryan this week regarding Barnette’s military service.
“She claims to have served 10 years in the Army Reserves and to have been accepted for officer training,” said Rep. Ryan, “but we don’t know the dates of her service or whether she completed the training or the rank she attained. In looking at the very few documents allegedly about her military service, the available facts do not correlate and that is troubling to me.”
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In his statement on Thursday Trump acknowledged Barnette “will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party – and I will be behind her all the way” if her past can be properly vetted.
On Thursday afternoon Barnette tweeted “The fact is that the establishment does not like when regular people rise up and try to run for office. They don’t like when people like you and me have the chance to actually make real change. They’re scared and they should be. The status quo is dying.”
The former President concluded by expressing his support for Oz, who Trump said “is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the Crazed, Lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania.”
Trump has also attacked Oz and Barnette’s other chief competitor Dave McCormick, calling him the candidate of special interests, globalists, and the Washington establishment during a rally in western Pennsylvania last week.
On Wednesday Barnette was endorsed by the super PAC “Club for Growth Action,” which launched a $2 million ad buy for Barnette.
Oz, McCormick, and Barnette have been virtually tied in recent polls, including a Fox News poll that found Oz with 22%, McCormick with 20%, and Barnette with 19% support in the primary.
Barnette has been endorsed by Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who is leading in his race despite pushes by establishment Republicans to support candidates who may appear more moderate.
This is not the first time Trump has voiced a vocal un-endorsement of a Pennsylvania candidate. In April Trump called gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain a “coward” for not helping overturn the 2020 election.