Trump endorses Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race

Entering a close Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, former President Donald J. Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz on Saturday, endorsing the former “The Dr. Oz Show” star, who has been attacked by rivals as a closet liberal. . Dr. Oz’s celebrity seems to have been a deciding factor for the former president, whose own political career was based on reality television.

“I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, if only through his hit television show,” Trump said in an announcement, overshadowing a rally he was holding at the same time in North Carolina, where his endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd in a close Republican Senate race is also seen as crucial.

“He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected and intelligent,” Trump added. He cited an appearance he had made on Dr. Oz’s daytime television show in the midst of the 2016 presidential race, when Trump showed partial results of a physical exam. “He even said that he was in extraordinary health,” Trump said, “which made me like him even more (even though he also said he should lose a couple of pounds!).”

The former president also emphasized Dr. Oz’s eligibility, citing his attractiveness to women due to his daytime television show. Women “are drawn to Dr. Oz because of the tips and advice from him,” Trump said, adding, “I’ve seen this many times over the years. They know him, they believe in him and they trust him.” Trump predicted that Dr. Oz would do “very well” in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which are Democratic strongholds.

A wealthy candidate for the first time, Dr. Oz is in a bitter and costly battle with another super-rich rival for the GOP nomination, David McCormick, the former CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund. Both candidates have fervently sought Trump’s endorsement, both personally and through surrogates, as they have clumsily remade themselves as middle-of-the-road establishment Republicans to appeal to Trump’s far-right base. Dr. Oz welcomed the endorsement in a statement that said, “President Trump wisely endorsed me because I am a conservative who will take on Joe Biden and the awakened left.”

A poll last week by Emerson College and The Hill found a virtual tie between the two candidates among very likely primary voters, with Mr. McCormick at 18 percent, Dr. Oz at 17 percent and 33 percent. percent undecided.

In North Carolina, Trump repeated his endorsement of Dr. Oz, likening his long television career to proof of political viability. “When you’re on TV for 18 years, it’s like a poll,” Trump said of Dr. Oz, whose show ended a 12-year run in January. “That means people like you.”

The race for Pennsylvania, to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, is widely seen as one of the most crucial in bipartisan efforts to seize control of the Senate in this midterm election. anus. The Democrats have their own closely contested primaries, with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Rep. Conor Lamb standing out.

After Trump’s endorsement, McCormick’s chief strategist, Jeff Roe, tweeted that Mr. McCormick “is going to be the next Senator” from Pennsylvania. Jacob Flannick contributed to this report.

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