- Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick are running in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary.
- Both Oz and McCormick have tried to secure an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
- McCormick’s wife told Trump Oz’s Islamic faith was a liability, sources told The New York Times.
David McCormick and his wife met with former President Donald Trump and suggested Dr. Mehmet Oz’s Muslim background would be a political liability in the Pennsylvania US Senate race, The New York Times reported.
McCormick, who is running against Oz in Pennsylvania for a seat in the US Senate, has been seeking Trump’s endorsement, according to The Times. The meeting took place last year before McCormick announced his candidacy.
Oz entered the race in November 2021, while McCormick entered in January. Both are running as Republicans.
McCormick’s wife, Dina Powell McCormick, served in the Trump administration as a senior national security official.
Powell McCormick, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, showed Trump a photo of Oz with a group that included some people wearing Islamic head coverings, four anonymous sources told The Times.
The couple made the case that Oz’s Muslim background was an electability issue and that it was a political liability, according to the Times.
Since announcing his bid for Senate, Oz has been questioned over his dual US and Turkish citizenship. Critics have asked that he renounce his Turkish citizenship over concern for his loyalty to the US. Oz said on Wednesday he would renounce his Turkish citizenship if elected, CNN reported.
McCormick’s campaign has also made public statements about Oz’s dual citizenship, but told The Times they never mentioned his religion in the meeting with Trump.
The McCormick and Oz campaigns did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement to The Times, McCormick spokesperson Jess Szymanski said the reports on Powell McCormick’s remarks to Trump are an “anonymous, false smear on a candidate’s wife who is an Arab-American immigrant woman who fled the Middle East to escape religious persecution.”
She said the reports were “designed to distract from the legitimate national security concerns” about Oz, such as his dual citizenship.