Dr. Mehmet Oz, who rose to fame on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," announced a bid to run for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican on Tuesday. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and television personality, announced Tuesday that he will run for Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican.
Oz, who appeared as "Dr. Oz" on The Oprah Winfrey Show and later his own show of the same name, announced his bid to fill the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in a video shared to Twitter and an op-ed in The Washington Examiner in which he criticized Washinton's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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," he wrote.
Oz, a 61-year-old Ohio native who attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, joins a Republican primary field including businessman Jeff Bartos and Carla Sands, U.S. ambassador to Denmark under the Trump administration.
In his campaign announcement, Oz criticized "elites" and others who he said "squashed" ideas to combat the pandemic, while also criticizing the government for infringing on people's individual rights.
"COVID has shown us that our system is broken. We lost too many lives, too many jobs and too many opportunities because Washington got it wrong. They took our freedom without making us safer," Oz wrote.
Throughout his career, Oz has faced scrutiny for promoting "miracle" diet products, testifying before Congress over allegations that they were shams in 2014, the same year a British Medical Journal study found half of his medical advice was baseless or wrong.
Also, 10 of his colleagues in 2015 called for him to be dismissed from Columbia University's medical school for having "repeatedly shown disdain for science and evidence-based medicine" and "promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he promoted hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 cure, before later changing his mind, and suggested that reopening schools "may only cost us 2 to 3% in terms of total mortality" which he described as "a trade-off some folks would consider," but later said he "misspoke."
Oz also has ties to former President Donald Trump, who appointed him to the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018 and 2020.