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Zachary Petrizzo Daily Beast

Sun, April 10, 2022,

Hannah Beier/Reuters
Hannah Beier/Reuters

Late Saturday evening, former President Donald Trump officially endorsed his old TV pal Dr. Mehmet Oz in the ruckus Republican U.S. Senate primary race in Pennsylvania.

In doing so, Trump, while speaking at a rally in North Carolina, ignited fury and ridicule among some of the loudest voices in Trumpworld.

At issue among Trump’s most fervent supporters is the belief that Oz, a Turkish-American TV physician who has hobnobbed with Hollywood’s elite and has flip-flopped on the issue of abortion, isn’t a trustworthy “America First” Republican candidate, compared to fellow candidate Dave McCormick, who has ex-Trump administration officials Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller by his side.

“I have enormous respect for President Trump. I was honored to have his endorsement in PA. Twice,” Sean Parnell, the former Trump-backed candidate, who dropped out of the race after an abuse allegation surfaced from his estranged ex-wife, wrote on Twitter. “But I’m disappointed by this. Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president of my lifetime.”

Dr. Oz’s Sick Journey From Political Joke to Senate Candidate

The infighting only intensified as more conservative commentators and politicos lined up to take shots at Trump’s endorsement.

“It’s like Donald Trump’s staff is sabotaging Trump by convincing him to make the worst possible endorsements,” conservative radio host Erick Erickson tweeted.

“This endorsement could divide MAGA in the only way that matters: he could lose America First conservatives over it,” Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak wrote.

Elsewhere, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is running for the Senate and who has split with Trump in recent over back-and-forth accusations of election interference, chalked up the Oz endorsement to weak-kneed staffers the ex-president has enlisted.

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telling Trump who to endorse in primaries works for The Swamp,” said Brooks, whose Trump endorsement was recently rescinded.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

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) didn’t immediately jump in on backing Oz during an interview with Fox News Sunday, stating, “I think we’re in a good position to win that race regardless of who the nominee is.”

Inside Dr. Oz’s Shameless Flip-Flop on Abortion

Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone couldn’t help joining the pile-on either, writing on Telegram, “Wait? President [Trump] endorsed this guy?” while attaching a photo of the doctor, who rose to infamy after years of hosting a daytime television show with guests like Michelle Obama.

Lesser-known pro-Trump media personalities also stepped into the fold, including Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter, who wrote: “It’s pretty hard for me to fully express how disappointed in Trump I am for endorsing Oz.”

“Wait. Is there anything conservative about Dr. Oz?” Blaze TV’s Allie Beth Stuckey added.

While the likes of far-right radio host Stew Peters continue to take nightly jabs at Oz, the doctor has an ally in Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“I am supporting his nomination to be the Republican candidate,” Hannity said in March. “I have known him for many, many years.”


Associated Press

Trump endorses Oz in Pennsylvania’s Senate primary race

JILL COLVIN and MARC LEVY

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican Senate primary, ending months of jockeying for his support.

In a statement Saturday evening, Trump said his decision was “all about winning elections” as he formally backed the celebrity heart surgeon best known as the host of daytime TV’s “The Dr. Oz Show.”

“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 said, in part. Later, at a rally in North Carolina, he said: “You know when you’re in television for 18 years, that’s like a poll. That means people like you.”

Oz had been competing for Trump’s endorsement in the May 17 primary against former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, whose wife, Dina Powell, served in Trump’s administration. The two had gone to extensive lengths to win over the former president, who remains deeply popular with the Republican base and has been wooed by candidates in primary races across the country.

At a conservative forum in Pennsylvania last weekend, the candidates were asked if they would like Trump’s endorsement and for him to come to Pennsylvania to campaign for them.

“That’s the easiest question we’re going to get all day,” replied one of the candidates, Jeff Bartos, a real estate investor. “Yes. 100%, yes.”

The decision marks a disappointment for McCormick, who met with Trump last week and had hired a litany of former Trump aides for his campaign. Though he was virtually unknown to voters before declaring his candidacy in January, he topped a recent Fox News poll of Pennsylvania GOP primary voters.

Trump had previously endorsed Sean Parnell in the race, but Parnell withdrew his candidacy amid allegations of abuse from his estranged wife. The turnabout raised questions about the vigor of Trump’s vetting process and concerns among Republicans about whether the former president was bolstering candidates who might be able to win their respective primaries but flounder in general elections that will determine which party controls the Senate.

This time, Trump made clear that electability was top of mind. In his statement, he noted that Oz was a well-known quantity who has “lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart.”

“Perhaps most importantly, I believe that Mehmet Oz will be the one most able to win the General Election against a Radical Left Democrat looking to do unthinkable harm to our Country,” he added. “Women, in particular, are drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel. I have seen this many times over the years. They know him, believe in him, and trust him,” he said.

When Oz interviewed Trump on his show in 2016, Trump told him at one point that his wife, Melania Trump, was “a big fan” of the show.

Oz also has a long personal history with Trump.

Oz said in a recent interview that he had first met Trump in 2004 or 2005 when he asked Trump to use his golf course for an event for Oz’s children’s charity. Trump agreed. After that, they saw each other intermittently at social events before Oz interviewed Trump about his health during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump, in conversations, has often praised Oz for his positive treatment on the show. “He even said that I was in extraordinary health, which made me like him even more (although he also said I should lose a couple of pounds!),” Trump wrote in his statement.

McCormick, meanwhile, has made deep inroads with party donors and officials in Pennsylvania, and has landed endorsements from former Trump administration officials Sarah Sanders and Mike Pompeo. But he has had to work to turn himself into a pro-Trump, America First candidate.

McCormick carries strong Republican establishment ties going back to his days in President George W. Bush’s administration. In 2015, McCormick held a fundraiser for Jeb Bush, Trump’s 2016 rival.

That has opened McCormick, who spent a dozen years as an executive at one of the nation’s biggest hedge funds, to charges from some conservatives that he is a “globalist,” a derogatory term as adopted by Trump and others in his orbit to conjure up an elite, international coterie that doesn’t serve America’s best interests.

Meanwhile, McCormick and a super PAC supporting him have spent millions attacking Oz.

The ads pick apart Oz’s long career on TV and as a public personality and accuse him of being a liberal, pointing, for instance, to his repeated public advocacy for “Obamacare,” former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. They also accuse Oz of being too “Hollywood.”

Oz also has taken heat in the race for carpetbaggery. He lived in New Jersey for two decades until just before deciding to run in neighboring Pennsylvania, where his in-laws live.

Trump’s decision drew criticism from some Oz critics, including Parnell, who endorsed McCormick.

“I have enormous respect for President Trump. I was honored to have his endorsement in PA,” he tweeted. “But I’m disappointed by this. 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.”

Reuters

Trump endorses celebrity surgeon Dr. Oz for U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania

Rally held by former U.S. President Donald Trump

By Moira Warburton and Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he is endorsing celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running as a Republican in a closely watched U.S. Senate contest in Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Oz is smart, tough, and will never let you down, therefore, he has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement.

The Senate race in Pennsylvania could determine control of the Senate and the fate of Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda. A crowded field of candidates are vying to replace the retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

Trump “knows how critical it is to change the kinds of people we send to Washington. I’m ready to fight,” Oz said in a statement. “I thank him for that, and I am proud to receive his endorsement.”

The top Republicans in the race are Oz and David McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO. Recent polls had Oz and McCormick neck and neck in the Republican primary contest to be held on May 17.

On the Democratic side, Pennsylvania’s progressive lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, is locked in a race against Congressman Conor Lamb, a moderate representing the northwestern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Toomey was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in February 2021 following Trump’s impeachment on a charge that he incited last year’s attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. The Senate vote of 57-43 fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump.

Oz, known for the syndicated “The Dr. Oz Show,” brings substantial name recognition to the wide-open Nov. 8, 2022, contest.

Oz rose to fame shocking audiences with show-and-tell displays of decaying lungs and rotting livers, telling viewers they should take care of themselves.

His public image took a blow in 2014, however, when he told lawmakers probing bogus diet product ads that some of the products promoted on his show lacked “scientific muster.” Senators at the hearing focused on green coffee bean extract, a dietary supplement Oz touted in 2012 as a “miracle.”

Trump in September 2021 endorsed Sean Parnell for the open Pennsylvania seat Oz is vying for. But Parnell suspended his campaign in November 2021 after his estranged wife alleged physical abuse and he lost a battle over the custody of his three children.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Moira Warburton; Additional reporting by Jason Lange Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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