Trump Endorsed Dr. Oz and Republicans Are Pissed

Trump’s endorsement touted Mehmet Oz’s books and television show, and said that “women, in particular, are drawn to Oz for his advice and counsel.”
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JC Olivera/Getty Images /  Allison Joyce/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz on Sunday, providing a boost to Oz’s struggling campaign for a Pennsylvania Senate seat. And Republicans, even ones close to Trump, are not happy about it.

Trump released the endorsement late Saturday night, at the same time he was holding a rally in North Carolina for Senate candidate Ted Budd. “This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our country,” Trump said in the statement.

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“The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to Save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz for the United States Senate.”

Trump’s endorsement touted Oz’s books and television show, and said that “women, in particular, are drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel”—portraying this quality as one that would help Oz win the election. 

“They know him, believe in him, and trust him,” Trump said. “Likewise, he will do very well in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where other candidates will just not be accepted.”

Oz is running for Senate to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey in the key swing state, which voted for Trump in 2016 but was one of several that flipped to Joe Biden in 2020. He’s running in a crowded primary that includes ex-hedge fund executive David McCormick, who has led narrowly in recent polling. On the Democratic side, progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has led other Democrats by a wide margin in polling. 

Responding to the news that Trump had endorsed Oz, Fetterman said in a tweet: “Trump could endorse a ham sandwich and super PACs would still dump money behind it.”

Trump had previously endorsed former U.S. House candidate Sean Parnell for Senate in Pennsylvania, but Parnell suspended his campaign in November after his now-estranged wife alleged in a custody hearing that he had physically and emotionally abused her and their children. 

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Parnell said he was “disappointed” by Trump’s endorsement of Oz. “Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president of my lifetime—he’s the farthest thing from America First & he’d be very bad for PA,” Parnell said in a Saturday tweet. 

Far-right social media personality Jack Posobiec posted a clip from a 2010 episode of Oz’s show, about the challenges of raising a transgender child, which he said showed Oz “promoting transgenderism in children.” 

Banning transgender youth from sports and eliminating gender-affirming care for them has become a top priority for the GOP this year, as several states have passed legislation marginalizing trans kids. Though GLAAD praised Oz’s show at the time for “exhibiting some of the best nationally televised conversations about gender identity, despite some missteps in promotional materials and on-screen visuals,” Oz has shifted to the right on the issue in recent years, saying in December that transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas is emblematic of “changes to our society that hurt other people in an effort to protect one group of people, and that’s not fair.”

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Rep. Mo Brooks, a struggling Alabama Senate candidate and Stop the Stealer whom Trump initially endorsed before rescinding the endorsement last month, blamed the Trump endorsement on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell somehow—even though McConnell has not endorsed anyone in the race, even when given another opportunity during a Sunday interview with Fox News.

“This is happening because Trump’s surrounded himself by staff who are on McConnell’s payroll & hostile to the MAGA agenda,” Brooks said in a Saturday tweet. “Everybody telling Trump who to endorse in primaries works for The Swamp. They played him. Again.”

Pennsylvania’s primary is May 17.

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