“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.”
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But he signaled that he would run against government mandates, a common refrain on the right, even as he praised Donald Trump for the Operation Warp Speed development of the Covid vaccine.
In the op ed, Oz wrote, “the government mandated 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. 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 has been a longtime resident of New Jersey, but according to the Associated Press, he registered to his in-law’s address in the Philadelphia suburbs to vote by absentee this year.
In light of Oz’s announcement, Sony officials are evaluating their options and discussing plans with broadcasters on how to move forward, sources said. A Fox TV stations spokesperson said that Fox’s affiliate in Philadelphia pulled The Dr. Oz Show in light of FCC equal time rules, which otherwise may have forced the outlet to offer the same amount of airtime to other Republican candidates in the Senate race.
Oz also posted an announcement video to Twitter hitting many of the same themes.
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 was tipped to make his announcement on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show this evening.
The cardiac surgeon found himself at the aforementioned crossroads of politics and medicine last year when he offered Hannity some unusual thoughts on how the U.S. might reopen more quickly.
“First, we need our mojo back,” said Oz, before suggesting that there are some actions that can be taken “without getting into a lot of trouble.”
“Schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” he continued. “I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but…that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider.”
The TV star’s calculation about a “2 to 3%” mortality among American school kids being an “appetizing opportunity” was met with a predictable backlash, and he later apologized.
In his op ed, Oz also emphasized his road to fame, writing that he left “the safety of my medical practice to become the health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show and, ultimately, the host of my own TV program.”
PREVIOUSLY this morning: Mehmet Oz, aka Dr. Oz, is expected to enter the race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, with Fox News host Sean Hannity teasing a potential announcement for Tuesday night on his show.
“Hint: Think midterm election,” Hannity said.
Oz has reportedly hired campaign staff and consulted with Republican leaders in the state. He would be running in the Republican primary in the race to succeed Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who is retiring.
Oz would have the highest name recognition among all of the declared candidates, as he has hosted his daily syndicated The Dr. Oz Show since 2009. It’s produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. His show was renewed for its 13th and 14th seasons last year, or through the 2022-23 season. A spokesperson for the studio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
What’s unclear is how a Senate run would immediately impact production of his show, given the schedule of a Senate campaign.
There’s also the question of the FCC’s equal time rule, which requires that stations who feature one candidate on their airwaves must give an equal amount of time to other contenders who request it.
Stations in Pennsylvania would potentially be faced with that issue in the airing of The Dr. Oz Show. The FCC, however, has in the past ruled that certain talk shows are exempt as so-called “bona fide” news interviews, including when Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2003 to announce his run for governor of California. But in 2016, Donald Trump’s hosting gig on Saturday Night Live led to the network and stations offering equal time to other Republican candidates who requested it.
Oz shot to fame with dozens of appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which led to him getting his own popular show. Some of his statements have drawn heavy criticism, including last year when he was an advocate of the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. He later took a more cautious approach to the use of the drug.
Oz was born in Cleveland to Turkish immigrants, and earned degrees at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton Business School.
Some of the declared candidates in the Senate race include Carla Sands, who was U.S. ambassador to Denmark during Donald Trump’s administration, as well as real estate developer Jeff Bartos and businessman Everett Stern. On the Democratic side, candidates include the state’s lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA).
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this story.
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