Senate Republicans decry ‘unsavory’ assaults on Ouncess twin citizenship

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“That entire line of assault is unsavory to me,” stated Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I’ve little question that he’s loyal to the US.”
Nationwide Republican Senatorial Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who’s impartial within the main, stated “I don’t have a priority about it” and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) stated that “it’s a legit situation, however I believe he’s answered it properly. I don’t have any issues about it myself.”
Cramer added that Ouncess detrimental remarks about Turkey’s authoritarian president have helped: “For a man who has twin citizenship, he’s been important of [Tayyip] Erdoğan, which I believe most likely inoculates him additional.”

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, left, accompanied by former President Donald Trump, speaks at a marketing campaign rally in Greensburg, Pa., on Could 6, 2022.
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Gene J. Puskar/AP Photograph

Regardless of Ouncess endorsement from Trump, he’s nonetheless laboring to fend off rivals down the stretch. Ouncesnarrowly leads his Republican main foes in current polls, however it’s clear that he doesn’t have the race put away — which suggests any edge he can get could also be important down the road, notably because it pertains to the delicate situation of his Turkish citizenship.
Ouncessays if he wins a Senate seat this fall, he’ll resign his Turkish citizenship. He might discover the seat tougher to win within the interim if he’s the GOP nominee, although, ought to Democrats launch a brand new spherical of assaults on his ties to Turkey.
Senate International Relations Chair Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), for instance, thinks little of Ouncess plans to solely scrap his citizenship if he wins the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
“Why then? Why not now? If you wish to be a U.S. senator, it’s best to inform the folks of Pennsylvania that your solely allegiance is to the US,” Menendez stated.
The citizenship drama reached the Senate a number of months in the past, when it was reported that Ouncesmay forgo looking for safety clearances to keep up his Turkish passport. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who helps McCormick within the main, then held a press briefing arguing that members of the Senate “want full entry” to intelligence.
Ouncessubsequently stated he would resign his Turkish citizenship if elected, arguing it was a “distraction” to his marketing campaign.
In an interview on Tuesday, Sullivan stated the truth that Ouncesis a twin citizen “was not my situation” in and of itself. “My situation was when he acknowledged he wouldn’t do categorized hearings.”
“You possibly can’t do the job as a U.S. senator if that’s your view. In order that’s the place I used to be centered,” stated Sullivan, including that his issues on that entrance are “alleviated, however it doesn’t change my thoughts of who could be a significantly better senator for the nation.”
One other McCormick backer on the Hill, Sen. Invoice Hagerty (R-Tenn.), stated “I haven’t put any thought into” Ouncess citizenship. However McCormick and his allies have saved at it, with pro-McCormick group Honor Pennsylvania operating an advert just lately charging that after highschool “Ouncesdidn’t struggle for America — he served for the Turkish Military as a substitute.”
McCormick himself tweeted that Ouncesought to “resign your Turkish citizenship now. We gained’t be fooled once more.” In a March Fox Information Radio interview, McCormick ridiculed assaults on his “patriotism from a man who served within the Turkish navy and is a twin citizen of Turkey, which is an adversary of ours in mattress with Iran.”
Brittany Yanick, a spokesperson for Oz, stated that the “these are pathetic and xenophobic assaults on Dr. Ouncesby David McCormick, who must be ashamed of himself.”
“There isn’t any safety situation in any way, and David McCormick is aware of that Dr. Ounceshas maintained his twin citizenship to make it simpler to assist take care of his mom who has Alzheimer’s and lives there,” Yanick stated.

However it’s not simply McCormick lobbing criticism at Oz.
Alec Jones, marketing campaign supervisor for fellow GOP Senate hopeful Carla Sands, Trump’s former ambassador to Denmark, stated in a press release that “Ouncess loyalties are higher fitted to the Grand Nationwide Meeting of Turkey than for the US Senate. He portrays himself as loyal to Donald Trump whereas campaigning in Pennsylvania, however he has a protracted and visual historical past of fawning over Turkish Dictator [Tayyip] Recep Erdoğan.”
Turkey’s presence within the Pennsylvania main raises alarms amongst many Senate Republicans, who view Erdoğan critically. However they appear to offer deference to Oz, who says he voted towards Erdoğan within the 2018 Turkish election. It’s additionally doable Republicans are holding again as a result of they don’t need to assault a possible future colleague in a must-win Senate race.
Summing up the views of many within the GOP convention, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) requested rhetorically: “Is he a citizen of the US?”
“Turkey provides me pause. I’m not going to say Dr. Ouncesgives me pause,” Ernst stated.
Each Ernst and former Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) stated, considerably jokingly, that there are many presently serving U.S. senators who they fear about getting access to categorized data. Burr stated it was not a official situation to lift within the main marketing campaign. Whereas they take part in categorized briefings on at the very least an occasional foundation, senators usually are not topic to acquiring the identical safety clearances like sure senior staffers are.
Nonetheless, the hardest barrage got here from Pompeo, a beloved determine amongst Senate Republicans. Forward of a Trump rally for Ounceslast week, Pompeo pointedly criticized the candidate for voting within the 2018 Turkish election — a dramatic break between the previous president and a onetime Cupboard secretary.
“Not solely did he [Oz] not interact within the American political course of, however he engaged within the Turkish political course of. And that raises, in my thoughts, a number of judgments about his priorities,” Pompeo stated.
Pompeo handed on operating for a Senate seat in his native Kansas in 2020, a lot to the chagrin of a GOP convention that was struggling to hold onto a majority it in the end misplaced that cycle. And plenty of of them at the moment are making clear that in relation to Oz, they don’t share Pompeo’s issues.
“I can’t think about why anyone could be towards [Oz] simply because he maintains twin citizenship,” stated Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

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