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Kathy Barnette

MSNBC Screenshot

Kathy Barnette, a Trumpist conspiracy-peddling Republican candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate race who has been rising through the ranks, speeding even past big-spending rivals, is facing waves of criticism and public backlash for her past anti-Muslim tweets.

On Sunday, in an interview with Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream, after bobbing and weaving on questions probing her military service, Barnette tried to downplay the gravity of Islamophobic tweets that she had penned.

“If you love freedom, Islam must NOT be allowed to thrive under any condition,” Barnette declared in a 2014 tweet. However, her anti-Muslim rant didn’t end there. Her later tweets would hone in on an even bigger target: former President Barack Obama.

"Obama is a Muslim. Doing Muslim like THINGS!" Barnette tweeted in 2016, pushing false claims about the former president’s faith. Referencing the Iran nuclear deal, Barnette targeted Obama, a devout Christian, again later that year in another tweet. "Obama would NEVER lie or evade the American people. He's a Muslim, errrr, American."

When Bream pressed Barnette about the anti-Islam tweets, the GOP Senate candidate took a leaf from the GOP playbook and blamed others for her actions. She lobbed the blame for her social media rant on Obama and Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country.

"Let me just say in almost all of those tweets...especially when you look at the timeframe we were living in, at that particular time, we had the Obama administration bringing in a lot of Syrian refugees at that time,” Barnette told Bream.

Barnette also tried to pass off the resurfacing of her old tweets as a political attack that showed how desperate her opponents are.

“I can’t provide a lot of context because, again, it’s almost ten years ago. That’s how far they have to go back to find anything on me,” she said.

The media was also to blame, according to Barnette. “I have not embellished on my record,” she said. “I have been running this race now for about 13 months, and if you listen to the mainstream media, you would think I crawled from under a rock yesterday.”

In 2020, after losing her first run at Congress by an eye-popping 19 percentage points, Barnette became a willing mouthpiece for former President Trump’s bogus claims of widespread voter fraud, particularly in the votes that were cast by mail.

"I even secured more votes than the president, showing that my American message had a crossover effect," she fumed after her stinging loss to the Democratic Incumbent, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA).

"I have no idea how we as Americans have allowed the greatest nation to become the equivalent of having elections as the equivalent of Afghanistan with progressive liberals looking a whole lot like the Taliban,” Barnette had added.

After an unsuccessful blame-game attempt, Barnette distanced herself from her past tweets, which she called “incomplete thoughts.”

“At that time, I was hosting a show called ‘Truth Exchange’ and I would have all kinds of ideas and was leaning in to helping the public begin to have those conversations, and so those were some of the — that’s the context around a lot of those tweets,” Barnette said during the Fox interview.

“The overwhelming majority of the tweets that are now being presented are not even full thoughts. They’re not even full sentences and yet people take it and they begin to build their own narrative around it,” she added.

Trump has assailed Barnette, calling her unvetted and unelectable, according to the New York Times. “Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats,” Trump said in a statement.

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Former First Lady Melania Trump and husband Donald Trump

Melania Trump teased a return to the White House in her first interview since Trump vacated the Oval Office for Joe Biden, echoing her husband’s repeated suggestions of a 2024 return to the political scene.

In a sit-down with Fox Nation’s Pete Hegseth, an interview that aired Sunday morning, the former first lady discussed her post-White House activities, said she believed the White House could be her home again, and lashed out at Vogue for putting Jill Biden on its cover.

“I like Washington, D.C. I know it operates completely different[ly] than any other city. To be the First Lady of the United States was my greatest honor, and I think we achieved a lot in the four years of the Trump administration,” she said, responding to Hegseth’s question about the possibility of her becoming the First Lady again.

“Never say never,” Trump added.

The former first lady said she enjoyed her time in the White House despite the wave of criticism she faced, especially in one instance in 2018 when she visited immigrant kids at a border detention center with a jacket emblazoned with the words “I really don't care, do u?”

Trump also discussed at length her NFT projects, which have been subject to controversy since their inception last year. Trump’s items can only be purchased with cryptocurrency, and nothing in her first lot of items, which was put up for sale earlier this year, met the $250,000 opening bid threshold, according to CNN.

In January, Trump held an auction for her “Head of State Collection, 2022,” with a minimum opening bid of $250,000 on the Solana blockchain. A portion of the proceeds, according to her website, would go towards securing “educational opportunities and scholarships” in the foster care system.

Things quickly went south when Vice, soon followed by other news outlets, reviewed the blockchain records and reported that the auction winner received funds for their winning bid from the auction’s creators themselves. “The winner of Melania Trump’s first NFT auction appears to be the former first lady herself,” according to Fortune.

Trump denied the allegations in a statement. “The nature of Blockchain protocol is entirely transparent. Accordingly, the public can view each transaction on the blockchain. The transaction was facilitated on behalf of a third-party buyer."

However, Trump declined to say who bought the NFT or why the NFT creator gave the auction winner crypto for the winning bid and seemingly got the funds back, per Vice. The former first lady has also refused to elaborate on what portion of her NFT proceeds has gone to charities, nor did she say which charities received the donations. “They need our resources, support, [and] empowerment to achieve that American dream,” Trump told Fox Nation, referring to purported contributions.

Trump also attacked Vogue for not featuring her on its cover during her husband’s tenure as president of the United States, a grudge she’s held onto tightly, despite exiting the White House over a year and a half ago.

“They’re biased and they have likes and dislikes, and it’s so obvious,” Trump said. “And I think American people, and everyone sees it.”

“I have much more important things to do—and I did in the White House—than being on the cover of Vogue,” she added, feigning indifference over the apparent snub.

However, in a tell-all book, Trump’s former senior adviser and BFF, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, detailed how Trump rejected a Vogue shoot shortly after her husband took office because the magazine couldn’t guarantee her a spot on the cover.