Yet another election denier on the campaign trail has reversed his position as the general elections inch closer. TV personality-turned-Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz announced that he doesn’t actually think the 2020 election was illegitimate, despite courting true believers in the past.
Oz has been running to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate against Democrat John Fetterman, partially through an online tete-a-tete using Internet memes (to varying effect). The Republican nominee has also been winking at denying the results of the 2020 election to curry favor with Trump supporters, while trying not to alienate swing voters at the same time.
At a Pennsylvania Senate debate back in April, he said that “we cannot move on” from the election, and that it was a “tragedy” that Republican voters in the state should have to question the results.
He also gave a noncommittal response when asked directly whether he believed the election was stolen on Fox News earlier this month. “There’s lots more information we have to gather in order to determine that and I’d be very desirous of gathering some,” he said.
He’s notably refused to clarify his beliefs on the topic—that is, until Wednesday.
According to the new book from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump’s support of the fellow celebrity has been calculated from the start: He once told his advisers that he needs people like Oz in office in case the 2024 election is challenged or Congress tries to impeach him again.
Oz already hadn’t been very keen on accepting Trump’s endorsement throughout his campaign, but on Wednesday he finally decided to fess up.
“Doctor Oz has made it clear that he would have voted to certify the results of the 2020 election, and that he’ll accept the results of the 2022 election,” Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yanick told a Politico reporter when asked for comment.
It’s not just Oz. As we inch closer towards the general election, several election deniers who launched their political careers on the back of the Big Lie have similarly reversed their stances on the 2020 election.
Tiffany Smiley, the Republican Senate candidate in Washington state, erased statements about election integrity from her website soon after she won her August 2 primary. Retired general Don Bolduc took it a step further and rescinded his views on national television soon after his primary as well, despite signing an open letter endorsing the Big Lie a year earlier—and boasting about it throughout his campaign.