Dr Oz drifted into the Republican battle last fall, just over a week after Mr Trump’s first endorsement, Sean Parnell, stood down following accusations of abuse by his ex-wife. There were other Republican candidates happy to debase themselves in pursuit of Mr Trump’s blessing, including David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive and Bush administration official. But Mr. Trump – surprise! – eventually went with the sycophant who was also a TV star. It really is his sweet spot.
“You know, when you’re on TV for 18 years, it’s like a poll,” Trump said of his decision. “It means people like you.”
Even after Mr. Trump’s endorsement, the race remained close. At the Greensburg rally, some in the crowd repeatedly booed the mention of Dr. Oz. Many had questions about his authenticity and values — or, more fundamentally, what the hell a longtime Jersey guy is doing in their state.
Anyone who takes public service and leadership seriously should be troubled by Dr. Oz’s glaring lack of experience or knowledge of politics, government, etc. This, unfortunately, applies to few in today’s Republican Party, which views experience, expertise, and science as a smoking heap of elitist hooey.
Even more disturbing may be Dr. Oz’s devolution from a highly regarded, award-winning cardiothoracic surgeon to a snake oil peddler TV peddler. Prior to this run, his closest involvement with the Senate was when he was called before a panel in 2014 to testify about the sketchy weight loss products he peddled on his show.
Again, Republicans elected a shameless TV peddler as president. This is clearly not a decisive factor for them.
But the MAGA world has its own concerns about Dr. Oz. For starters, his Turkish heritage — he holds dual citizenship and was trained in the Turkish military — put him in the way of the rising nativism of the Republican Party. His main opponents and their supporters have suggested that his ties to Turkey make him a national security risk. Mike Pompeo, Mr Trump’s former secretary of state and director of the CIA, said Dr Oz owed voters a clear idea of the “breadth and depth of his relationship with the Turkish government”.