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Anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim: What we know about GOP rising star Kathy Barnette

Targets of right-wing commentator Kathy Barnette’s bigoted criticism include LGBTQ people, Muslims, and former President Barack Obama.

By Emily Singer - May 16, 2022
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Kathy Barnette

Pennsylvania Republican Senate hopeful Kathy Barnette’s long history of bigoted remarks is getting increased attention since her candidacy, once dismissed as a long shot, has gained momentum in the week leading up to Tuesday’s primary election.

As Donald Trump-endorsed candidate Mehmet Oz and businessman Dave McCormick have fought among themselves, Barnette’s candidacy has gained momentum, with Republicans now worrying that her ties to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection by supporters of Trump at the U.S. Capitol, what the National Review noted as her campaign’s refusal to answer basic questions about her resume, and her well-documented comments on Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community could make her unelectable in a general election against Democrats in November.

Here is a look at Barnette’s past remarks.

Being gay is ‘not normal’

CNN reported that in 2015, after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected in the United States, Barnette said on “Truth Exchange,” a radio show she hosted, “Two men sleeping together, two men holding hands, two men caressing, that is not normal.”

Same-sex marriage is a ‘slippery slope’ to incest and pedophilia

Barnette is vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage, a position that’s far outside the mainstream.

A Gallup poll from May 2021 found 70% of Americans think that same-sex marriage should be legal and that same-sex marriages deserve “the same rights as traditional marriages.”

On the same episode of her radio show in which she called homosexuality “not normal,” Barnette said:

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.

Anti-trans rhetoric

In a July 2015 blog post, Barnette responded to ads for television shows about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender teenager Jazz Jennings, misgendering them and writing:

All around us, is the push, barrage to normalize sexual perversion. I can barely look at the commercial of Bruce Jenner…he’s so deformed. It’s demonic. And this Jazz…I was watching a family movie and then this popped up as one of the commercials. INSANE!!! It’s a boy. A boy with a developmental emotional disorder. He needs professional help…not boob implants. So sad…

The ‘homosexual agenda’

Barnette frequently comments on what she calls the “homosexual agenda,” which seeks not equal rights, she warns, but “domination.”

Barnette wrote in a 2013 blog post:

Most of us assume that the homosexual AGENDA wants equality. Like those of the Civil Rights movement, who believed it fell within the government’s authority to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the law, to promote an environment that outlawed racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, by facilities that served the general public, and in voter registration.

 

This is not the AGENDA of the homosexual movement. It is not equality that they so rabidly pursue. It is domination! It is to the exclusion of the dominate [sic] voice in this country that inherently judges their lifestyle as immoral and perverse.

“Make no mistake about it, homosexuality is a targeted group in the Bible, right along with cheats, drunkards, liars, foul-mouths, extortionists, robbers, and any other habitual sin (1 Corinthians 6:10),” Barnette wrote. “A major problem arises when one of these groups collectively starts engaging in political paybacks, intimidating the public into silence, and using the Law to legitimatize their way of life.”

In 2015, After the White House included on a guest list for an event in honor of Pope Francis gay activists and public figures, including Eugene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, Barnette tweeted: “Obama did what he does best: shoving his homosexual agenda down everyone’s throat. Paraded a slew of gays before d Pope.”

Islamophobia

Barnette is virulently Islamophobic, tweeting anti-Muslim comments dozens of times.

In 2014 she tweeted, “If you love freedom, Islam must NOT be allowed to thrive under ANY condition.”

In 2015, she said it is “not just a religion” and called it “​​America’s Clearest Present Danger.” She also said, “Pedophilia is a Cornerstone of Islam.”

In a tweet from July 2016, Barnette posted a photoshopped image of a man with a beard standing in front of the World Trade Center wreckage with a sign reading, “Vote Democrat, We need your help to kill you!”

And in March 2017, she tweeted that Islam “should be banned in the USA.”

Challenged about the last post on May 13 of this year, Barnette denied she’d said it, even though it was posted to her own Twitter page.

“Yeah, no, I don’t think that’s me,” Barnette told NBC News. “I would never have said that. Okay, I would have never said that, because I don’t believe that.”

Barnette has also used the false claim that former President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim as an Islamophobic weapon, tweeting in 2016, “Don’t we get it? Obama is a Muslim!” and in July of that year, “Nooooo! It’s not possible!!! Obama would NEVER lie or evade the American people. He’s a Muslim, errrr, American…”

Capitol insurrection

Barnette was documented marching from the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, to the Capitol, where a violent mob of Trump supporters attacked law enforcement and broke into the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Barnette posted a video to YouTube on Dec. 31, 2020, in which she said she was organizing three busloads of people to travel to Washington for the rally. But her campaign manager, Bob Gillies, told the Washington Post on Sunday that she “took a bus, listened to the president’s speech and then left.”

However, antifascist researcher Chad Loder posted video and photos of Barnette walking to the Capitol alongside members of the white supremacist Proud Boys militia.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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