Dr. Mehmet Oz, the quack doctor who became famous as a fixture of Oprah Winfrey’s media empire, is hoping to parlay his TV career into a political one.
The surgeon and TV host announced Tuesday that he running as a Republican for the Pennsylvania Senate seat being left vacant by retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey. “I’m running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania because America needs a conservative Republican to cure what’s wrong with Washington,” Oz tweeted along with a video in which he claims he “took on the medical establishment to argue against costly drugs and skyrocketing medical bills.”
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 may have a medical degree, but he has a long history of hawking bullshit medical advice and making unfounded weight loss claims. He’s said raspberry ketones are “the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat” (the Public Affairs Council says this is a “scam”). He’s said lavendar soap can reduce leg cramps. He even once said in a now-deleted tweet that astrological signs “may reveal a great deal about our health.” (The list goes on.)
Oz has also, not surprisingly, has downplayed the risks posed by Covid, arguing to Sean Hannity in the heat of the pandemic last April that the nation needs to “get our mojo back” and that opening schools may be a good way to get things back on track. “Let’s start with things really critical to the nation,” he told the Fox News host. “Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in the Lancet arguing that the opening of schools may only cost us 2-3% in terms of total mortality. Any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into school where they’re safely being educated, being fed, and making the most out of their lives with a theoretical risk on the backside — it might be a trade-off some folks would consider.”
Oz leaned on his medical credentials in claiming he’s qualified to handle the pandemic in an op-ed published Tuesday by The Washington Examiner. “During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions,” he wrote. “That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”
Oz is not the only candidate running for the seat, but a recent exit from the race by Trump-endorsed candidate Sean Parnell — who suspended his campaign following allegations of domestic abuse and losing custody of his children — has opened up the field. “The influx of unqualified, untested and wealthy Republican candidates in this race will intensify the viciousness of their intra-party fight and leave their ultimate nominee badly out of step with Pennsylvania’s general election voters,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Patrick Burgwinkle said in a statement Tuesday. “The GOP will find Oz is no miracle cure for their mounting problems in this primary.”
According to the Associated Press, Oz has been a New Jersey resident for decades, but he recently registered to vote using his in-laws’ Pennsylvania address. He voted there this year using an absentee ballot.