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Sen. Cory Booker’s possible GOP challenger Dr. Rik Mehta says ‘hard work, humble beginnings’ separate him from foe

Republican Dr. Rik Mehta is challenging Sen. Cory Booker for his seat in New Jersey and doesn’t hold back when it comes to criticizing his foe, mocking the Democratic lawmaker with Trump-like tenacity.

Dr. Mehta has labeled Sen. Booker a “fraud” that lost the trust of constituents with “disingenuous showboating” when running for president to increase his own name recognition.

Speaking to Fox News’ Media Angle, Mehta discussed his unique background, the mainstream media, how he’ll campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic and why he thinks the people of New Jersey are sick and tired of Sen. Booker.

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MEDIA ANGLE: You’re running for Cory Booker’s seat, who has a national profile after his presidential campaign and infamous “Spartacus’ moment” during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. How do you plan on competing with him as a political outsider?

DR. RIK MEHTA: I am more than happy to run as an outsider and make this campaign a referendum on the failure of career politicians like Cory Booker. In fact, I see it as one of my greatest assets in this highly winnable race. My story is like most people in New Jersey; hard work, humble beginnings and the belief that the American Dream is available to anyone willing to chase it. I didn’t come from money, but we’ve achieved success by working hard. Cory Booker grew up rich only to pretend to be poor. He is a fraud and New Jerseyeans are growing tired of his disingenuous showboating. Cory Booker saw the Kavanaugh hearings as his audition for running for president, and then could barely crack one percent of the vote among Democrats nationally before he had to quit the race.

Before that, he was a failed Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city. His former constituents in Newark are now dealing with a horrific public health crisis on top of COVID, due to contaminated water brought on by his failure in leadership as Mayor. The people of New Jersey are ready to move on from Cory and turn a new leaf. People have embraced my platform because they see that I bring authentic and honest leadership and put policy over politics. This is in stark contrast to Cory, who still has not taken responsibility for his actions. His record is an embarrassment and I intend to make sure voters know about it.
U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Rik Mehta doesn’t hold back when it comes to criticism of Sen. Cory Booker.

U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Rik Mehta doesn’t hold back when it comes to criticism of Sen. Cory Booker.

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MA: Do you think the mainstream media typically favors liberals?

MEHTA: Yes. President Trump exposed the media’s “Fake News” obsession and now they are doing everything they can to belittle him and anyone who supports him.

MA: Can a relatively unknown Republican candidate receive equal coverage to an established Democrat like Booker?

MEHTA: Yes, because I am rewriting the rulebook, just like President Trump did in 2016. A perfect example happened last week. I… slammed Senator Booker for shortchanging four New Jersey counties — that just happen to be Republican counties — in the federal stimulus bill. It clearly got Booker’s attention as he made a feeble attempt to defend himself against being called out for his clear and dangerous bias and the criticism drove media reports and engagements on my social media pages. It clearly also worried Booker, as he appeared at Governor Murphy’s press conference just days later, and notably for the first time since the outbreak, to try and prove to people he wasn’t really MIA.

MA: You’ve called Booker a “first-class phony,” who was “showboating for the media” during his presidential campaign. Why do you think he ran for president, then?

MEHTA: He ran for President to massage his own ego and satisfy his own ambition. Listen, this is someone who ran for Mayor of Newark to provide a platform to run for U.S. Senate, and then ran for Senate as a platform to run for president. It’s never been about solving problems and helping others with Cory Booker, it’s all about how he can best help himself. You are talking about someone who made up stories about confronting dangerous drug dealers to get attention and then had to admit it was all phony. Other than Jussie Smollett, who does that?

MA: How will the coronavirus pandemic affect your campaign?

MEHTA: First and foremost, let me say how thankful I am for our frontline responders and health professionals who are keeping New Jersey and our nation safe. These people are the real heroes and the campaign is far less important than them getting the recognition they deserve. That said, the pandemic has made my background in pharmacy and drug innovation more relevant to voters and the press. Unlike Cory, I can speak with authority about issues facing the country that weren’t on the radar for many people just a few months ago. I’ve been a vocal opponent of China dominated drug manufacturing that has created shortages of life-saving medicines; shortages that are caused by nothing more than failed policies pushed by Booker under the Obama-era that have recklessly allowed for an over-reliance of our supply chain on foreign government. So, while I can’t be out shaking hands, I am focusing my campaign on providing authentic leadership through this pandemic.
U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Rik Mehta said President Trump exposed the media’s “Fake News” obsession.

U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Rik Mehta said President Trump exposed the media’s “Fake News” obsession.

MA: You are a co-founder and board member of a biotherapeutics company that says it is developing novel, oral immunoglobulin treatments targeting rare diseases. Does your experience in this area help you understand the coronavirus pandemic?

MEHTA: Absolutely. Our company is currently developing oral polyclonal antibodies to treat immunodeficiency in patients. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve now pivoted our funding to furthering preclinical research on the use of our antibodies in patients infected with coronavirus and suffering from serious breathing difficulties. Sadly, Cory Booker has completely failed the medical innovation community by putting partisan politics before public health. He sponsored legislation that would chill the medical innovation system and disincentive research with offshoring to foreign countries. The bias is palpable and deranged – if the President is for it, then Booker is against it. That’s how he operates. It’s irresponsible on every level, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. While Cory Booker uses the pandemic as a political stunt to free ICE detainees, you better believe I will only focus on policies that will make sure the impact this pandemic has had on America, will never happen again and we will come out of it stronger than before.

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MA: You’ve been vocal about bringing drug manufacturing back to the United States and away from China. Does misinformation from Chinese officials related to COVID-19 make this an even bigger priority?

MEHTA: My policies would strengthen research and development and bring drug manufacturing back to American while at the same time creating thousands of jobs, lowering the price of drugs and protecting public health. As for China, they are masters of misinformation, from lying about the start of the COVID-19 cases in their country by about three critical months that could have mitigated this disaster, to providing false figures about the containment of this virus within their own borders, China is not to be trusted. I commend President Trump for the way he is handling this unfortunate situation.

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MA: You bill yourself as a biotech entrepreneur, innovator, healthcare policy expert and a licensed pharmacist and attorney. That’s a lot of hats. Why do you want to add politician to the list?

MEHTA: There are a lot of reasons on the policy side that we’ve talked about in this interview, but there is something else that is equally as important. We as Republicans must reach beyond our base to non-traditional communities, minorities, young people, and others who may not be lifelong Republicans, but who love America and love God like I do and are ready to resist the socialists trying to ruin this great country. We must chip away at that voting bloc and sell our commonsense ideas and principles to them before we lose an entire generation to the other side’s lies. I am ready to be a leader in that movement not just for New Jersey but across America.

Sen. Booker’s office did not immediately respond to a series of requests for comment regarding Mehta’s remarks. Fox News also offered Sen. Booker a chance to do a similar Media Angle interview but has not heard back.