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Former President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said it is unprecedented and would be “problematic” if celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz were elected to the U.S. Senate and received security clearances.
O’Brien’s comments came during a teletown hall hosted by Carla Sands, one of Oz’s opponents in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate Primary.
O’Brien, who served in the Trump administration from 2019 to 2021, called out Oz for his Turkish citizenship, service in the Turkish military, and an endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines, which have increasingly become focal points of Oz’s Senate campaign.
And look, one thing I want to make clear, and I know you’ve made this clear as well, Carla this isn’t about Mehmet’s heritage, his Muslim faith, or the fact that his family’s from Turkey. We’re all from somewhere, I guess, except for Elizabeth Warren. We’re all from somewhere else, and Mehmet’s a good man. But we’ve never had a situation like this, at least in modern times that I’m aware of, where we have someone who’s a citizen of another country.
“It will be problematic, I think, if Mehmet was elected to be on the Intel Committee or the Senate Armed Services Committee, and to have the type of security clearance that you had as the ambassador,” O’Brien added.
O’Brien again said the issue is not with his heritage or faith, just that Oz is a citizen of Turkey, a foreign nation ruled by a hostile leader.
But look, I assume he’ll drop his Turkish citizenship if he’s elected and will stop voting in elections if he’s a U.S. senator. And look, I’m sure that you know, we all do things in our lives that we wish we had a do-over, and I’m sure if Mehmet had the opportunity, he wouldn’t have done his Turkish army service or vote recently in the Turkish presidential election, or been a representative for Turkish Airlines if he knew he was going to run for the U.S. Senate one day, so you know, my guess is he probably embarrassed by some of those things. And if he wishes he had to do over, and he could do it over, but you know, like, I think we all know he’s a good man. And, and again, this is not about his heritage or his faith, but it is. It is about the issue of him being a citizen of another country.
“Mehmet Oz doesn’t share our values. Not only is he not from Pennsylvania, and we all know it, but he’s never been America First. He’s been Turkey first. He served in the Turkish military.”
An activist group recently called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Oz over his alleged failure to register as a foreign agent with his work with Turkey’s national airline.
Oz drew attention to his Turkish citizenship after he said he would forego certain security clearances, if elected, to maintain his status with Turkey. However, after facing backlash for those comments, Oz later pledged to revoke his Turkish citizenship if he won the election in November.
Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania on Friday in support of Oz, which did not go too well for the celebrity doctor. The crowd, which was not a full house, reportedly booed any mention of Oz from the other speakers and Oz himself once he took the stage.