Oprah Winfrey made him famous, but the political views of Dr. Mehmet Oz, now a GOP Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, are likely more in line with the average Fox News viewer than the famous talk show host.
Oz, who announced Tuesday that he’s joining a crowded field competing for the seat now held by Sen. Pat Toomey, often appears on Fox shows such as “Hannity” and “Fox & Friends.”
The New York Times called him a “first-time candidate whose political views are little known,” but in fact, the attending physician at New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center has been quite outspoken about one of the biggest political issues of the day: the pandemic.
In his announcement, provided to the conservative Washington Examiner (the placement of which is a political statement in itself), Oz denounced “government mandated policies that caused unnecessary suffering” and elites who “patronized and misled” the public by promoting lockdowns.
“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,” Oz said.
He also hinted of a possible allegiance to former President Donald Trump by what he said about COVID-19 vaccines: “Although we had some moments of brilliance, such as the gift to the world of mRNA vaccines made possible by President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, many great ideas were squashed.”
I’m running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania because America needs a Conservative Republican to cure what’s wrong with Washington. I’m a world-class surgeon, fighter, and health care advocate stepping forward to cure our country’s ills. Watch my announcement video now! pic.twitter.com/yLhKsZm9sl— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) November 30, 2021
Oz’s announcement came one week after a candidate who had been endorsed by Trump withdrew from the race. Sean Parnell suspended his campaign after losing custody of his children in contentious divorce proceedings.
Oz, who was born in Ohio and lives in Bryn Athyn, Pa., will benefit from an enormous platform, with or without a Trump endorsement. He has more than 3 million followers on Twitter as well as his own magazine, and his Emmy-winning talk show has been on the air for 13 years.
Trump is often dismissed as a “reality-show star” by his critics and political opponents. Oz, who has degrees from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School, might similarly be dismissed as a “celebrity physician.” But in addition to Hollywood glitz and a solid CV, Oz also brings old-school values to the table: He’s been married to his wife for 36 years, and the couple have four children and four grandchildren.
The Pennsylvania race, already one of the most competitive in the nation, just became even more interesting to watch.