Dr. Mehmet Oz, known to the nation simply as "Dr. Oz," gained national notoriety for his televised medical segments, many of which promoted junk science. In the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oz's stances became increasingly controversial.
Last April, Oz rejoiced at estimates that reopening schools would "may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality." Like former President Donald Trump, Oz promoted hydroxychloriquine, the anti-malarial drug which research indicates is neither safe nor effective in treating the virus that's killed over 750 thousand Americans.
This week, Oz threw his hat into the ring to fill outgoing Republican Pat Toomey's Pennsylvania seat in the U.S Senate, an already crowded race.
Already, Oz—a Republican—is facing scrutiny for his candidacy, particularly regarding where he lives. Oz has been a resident of New Jersey for two decades, but only recently began voting in Pennsylvania, registering at his in-laws' home in Pennsylvania.
In an effort to troll Oz, Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, sarcastically congratulated his "constituent" on the Senate run in Pennsylvania.
I want to congratulate my North Jersey constituent Dr. Oz on his run for US Senate in Pennsylvania. I’m sure this fully genuine candidacy will capture the hearts of Pennsylvanians. https://t.co/poMegBfBfC
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@PascrellforNJ) November 30, 2021
For his part, Oz emphasizes that he grew up just outside of the Commonwealth and received his education in Philadelphia as well.
Social media users admired Pascrell's trolling.
the North Jersey version of “bless your heart” https://t.co/sL1wII7FaG
— shauna (@goldengateblond) December 1, 2021
This is some high-quality shade. https://t.co/49uC7YJVe6
— Steve Singiser (@stevesingiser) November 30, 2021
He wasn't the only one to skewer Oz's candidacy.
Dr. Oz is a quack. Good news for Conor Lamb. https://t.co/uhJPC0AgfD
— Jim Swift (@JimSwiftDC) November 30, 2021
Turns out letting people do Diet and Wellness Scams for billions of dollars for decades
is pretty bad for your democracy https://t.co/H62RDIwIVu
— Mean Fat Girl- 🏳️🌈💄 (@Artists_Ali) December 1, 2021
Grifting as a doctor wasn't enough. Time to go pro with political grifting https://t.co/XY9ggOoNEI
— Purple Monkey Dishwasher (@HayekandHockey) November 30, 2021
No place more apt for a grifter than in the Republican Party. https://t.co/6oil1lnyfw
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) November 30, 2021
Oz's announcement comes just after the race's Trump-endorsed Republican frontrunner, Sean Parnell, suspended his candidacy over family issues. Trump has previously praised Oz and appointed him to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition in 2018. The candidacy has been dismissed by many as a grift, but a Trump endorsement could shift the landscape of the entire race.