Where to begin with Dr. Mehmet Oz, who’s been sued by olive oil companies for libel, sued and scolded by lawmakers over alleged “miracle” weight loss supplements (take your pick), violated American Medical Association guidance by assessing the health of former president Donald Trump—who tapped the TV doctor for his sports, fitness, and nutrition council—and even aired an episode of his hour-long show granting legitimacy to conversion therapy? Well, let’s start with his campaign announcement.
In a Washington Examiner op-ed published Tuesday, Dr. Oz claimed he’d detail why he’s running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. As with his atrocious run as the least-watched Jeopardy! guest host, the man clearly missed the mark. Aside from the headline, there is no mention of the state at all. The brunt of the piece focuses on just how offended Dr. Oz is about being called out for his bullshit COVID-19 claims and how he could’ve done a better job handling the pandemic.
“Dissenting opinions from leading scholars were ridiculed and canceled so their ideas could not be disseminated,” Dr. Oz whined. The cardiothoracic surgeon then hilariously called out more moneyed Americans: “Elites with yards told those without yards to stay inside, where the virus was more likely to spread. And the arrogant, closed-minded people in charge closed our parks, shuttered our schools, shut down our businesses, and took away our freedom.” Dr. Oz has an estimated net worth of $100 million and a Cliffside Park, New Jersey, property that spans about two and-a-half acres—more than enough yard for him to comfortably take refuge at as the pandemic raged.
He later released a campaign video with a campaign logo eerily similar to the logo for his Sony-produced TV show. His website now redirects to his campaign site, where you can learn about where he stands on such hot-button Pennsylvania issues like immigration (he wants a border wall, presumably in the state he’s willing to represent that borders no other countries) and the economy (truly, he’s just mad at Joe Biden).
Dr. Oz’s bid for Senate is about as wrongheaded as most of his medical opinions but it’s his wealth and audience that make that idiocy more than a simple distraction. The 61-year-old has already pumped thousands into advertisements that will air in Pennsylvania and tapped seasoned PAC treasurer Salvatore Purpura for his “Doctor Oz for Senate” campaign committee. Purpura has previously worked on John McCain and George W. Bush’s campaigns and notably left Stephen Colbert’s satirical PAC to join Rick Perry’s extremely real presidential campaign in 2011.
Politicians like Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat who represents the New Jersey area where Dr. Oz’s massive compound is located, have already voiced their support. But many within the GOP truly have no idea why Dr. Oz is running nor do they know anyone willing to touch his campaign. When reached by Politico ahead of Dr. Oz’s announcement, one Pennsylvania Republican strategist said that the “pretty much universal response” to Dr. Oz’s campaign has been “LOL.”
Dr. Oz seems to have few connections to Pennsylvania. He switched his voter registration to the state last year and voted by absentee ballot from an address that corresponds with his in-laws. The address for his Dr. Oz for Senate Committee corresponds with a building that includes medical supply sellers, medical offices, and not much else. Hell, dude probably doesn’t even know how to order a cheesesteak, much less eat one.
The man’s a narcissistic buffoon but he’s arguably better than former GOP frontrunner and Trump-endorsed candidate Sean Parnell, who suspended his campaign last week after being found to have abused his estranged wife and losing custody of his children. The soon-to-be open Senate seat Dr. Oz is vying for belongs to Pat Toomey, who will not seek reelection after 10 years as senator. Toomey appeared to be on the outs with his own party after voting to convict Trump during the former president’s second impeachment trial. Dr. Oz would never, and that’s likely what could get him that coveted Trump endorsement as he flips from delegitimizing medicine to doing even worse with politics.