- Mike Allen, author of Axios AM
Former President Trump made a surprise endorsement of Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, in the closely watched race for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania.
- Trump said Oz has the best chance of winning the general election: “He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart. … Women, in particular, are drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel.”
Why it matters: Trump remains very popular with Republican primary voters. So the endorsement is a blow to Dave McCormick, the former hedge fund CEO and official from President George W. Bush’s administration, who has been running strongly and is Oz’s closest competition.
Between the lines: The former president’s wife, Melania Trump, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity, friends’ of Oz’s, had been pressing Trump to back him, rather than choose McCormick or stay neutral, sources told Axios’ Jonathan Swan.
Of note: McCormick adviser and GOP strategist Jeff Roe retweeted the text of Trump’s endorsement with his own conclusion: “[email protected] is going to be the next Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
- McCormick leads Oz in recent polls tracked by Real Clear Politics.
What he’s saying: Here is Trump’s full statement, issued in conjunction with a rally he was holding Saturday night in North Carolina:
“This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our Country. The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to Save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz for the United States Senate. I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, even if only through his very successful television show.
“He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart. He even said that I was in extraordinary health, which made me like him even more (although he also said I should lose a couple of pounds!). He is a graduate of Harvard University and earned a joint MD and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School of Finance. He has authored more than 350 original publications, written 8 New York Times bestsellers, and received patents for developing medical devices that have improved countless lives and performed thousands of life-saving heart operations.
“Dr. Oz is Pro-Life, very strong on Crime, the Border, Election Fraud, our Great Military, and our Vets, Tax Cuts, and will always fight for and support our under-siege Second Amendment. He will ensure America will become Energy Independent again. Dr. Oz also passionately believes in high-quality education and protecting parent involvement throughout the process. Perhaps most importantly, I believe that Mehmet Oz will be the one most able to win the General Election against a Radical Left Democrat looking to do unthinkable harm to our Country.
“Women, in particular, are drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel. I have seen this many times over the years. They know him, believe in him, and trust him. Likewise, he will do very well in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where other candidates will just not be accepted. He knows his job is to serve every single Pennsylvanian. Dr. Oz is smart, tough, and will never let you down, therefore, he has my Complete and Total Endorsement. Good luck, Dr. Oz. our Country needs you!”
— Statement by former President Trump
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from McCormick adviser and GOP strategist Jeff Roe and further context.