Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor, on Tuesday announced that he is running to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) as a Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
In an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner announcing his Senate bid, Oz griped about the simmering anger in the electorate and the federal government’s response to COVID-19.
“We are angry at our government and at each other. We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations,” Oz wrote. “During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”
Notably, Oz accused the federal government of mandating “policies that caused unnecessary suffering.”
“The public was patronized and misled instead of empowered. We were told to lock down quietly and let those in charge take care of the rest. When we tested positive for the virus, we were also told to wait at home until our lips turned blue and we got sick enough to warrant hospitalization. To be clear, this is not a typical medical protocol,” Oz wrote. “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 previously lived in New Jersey for the past two decades. The celebrity doctor only registered to vote in Pennsylvania last year under his in-laws’ address in suburban Philadelphia — which is likely to draw skepticism during his Senate campaign.
Oz’s jump into the Senate race in Pennsylvania comes as Republicans aim to retake the majority in next year’s midterm elections while Democrats hope to expand their razor-thin majority in the Senate.
Last week, the Trump-endorsed Republican Sean Parnell dropped his Senate bid in Pennsylvania after losing a child custody battle against his estranged wife, a ruling which came amid allegations of spousal abuse.
Oz is also close to Trump. As a candidate, Trump appeared on Dr. Oz’s show to discuss his health while running for the presidency in 2016. He shared what he said were his medical records with the television doctor, who deemed them “comprehensive.” Trump later appointed Oz to his health council.
Oz touted the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed in his op-ed announcing his candidacy, and he has apparently had the former president’s ear within the past year. Trump has reportedly mentioned Oz’s television appearances to aides when discussing the anti-Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as an unproven treatment for COVID-19.