Pompeo Raises Concerns Over Trump-Backed Senate Candidate

Pompeo Raises Concerns Over Trump-Backed Senate Candidate

Former Secretary of State said Friday that Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz poses “national security concerns.”

Pompeo cited Oz’s alleged ties to the Turkish government and military and called on him to explain why he had the “time and energy to vote in a Turkish election, but not in an American election.” (RELATED: Report Alleges Dr. Oz Violated Foreign Agent Law)

Oz recently won ’s endorsement and has received a slight bump in the polls. Yet his leading rival, businessman Dave McCormick, remains within striking distance.

Pompeo’s remarks came during a press briefing for McCormick, who he endorsed. They came as former President Trump travels to Pennsylvania to campaign with Oz and mark a significant escalation from Oz’s critics within the MAGA movement. (RELATED: Republicans Boot Trump-Backed Candidate From Ballot)

As The Hill reports:

“We criticize American candidates all the time because they didn’t vote,” Pompeo said. “This is different from that. 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.”

ABC News first reported Wednesday that Oz, who holds Turkish citizenship, voted in Turkey’s 2018 election despite previously saying he was never politically involved in the country “in any capacity.” His campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick confirmed to ABC that Oz had voted in the election but denied that the vote amounted to “political involvement.”

Oz has claimed he has maintained his Turkish citizenship to care for his “ailing mother,” but has said he will renounce his Turkish citizenship if elected.

Pompeo said during the briefing that he wanted to answer people’s questions about concerns surrounding Oz’s ties to Turkey, since if he were elected to Congress, he would receive a security clearance with much less scrutiny than civilians who apply for clearances.

Oz also owns property in Turkey and scored a celebrity endorsement deal with state-owned Turkish Airlines.

In response to the latest attacks, Oz spokesperson Brittany Yanick, released a statement vigorously defending her boss:

“These are pathetic and xenophobic attacks on by , who should be ashamed of himself. 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 citizenship. There is no security issue whatsoever, and David McCormick knows that Dr. Oz has maintained his dual citizenship to make it easier to help care for his mother who has Alzheimer’s and lives there.”

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