How Dr. Oz’s Pennsylvania Primary Victory Undermines the GOP’s ‘America First’ Message

Mehmet Oz, the former talk show host and TV doctor known for peddling questionable health remedieswas officially named the GOP nominee for senator from Pennsylvania on Friday.

In many ways, Oz symbolizes the perfect 2022 GOP candidate: he was endorsed by Donald Trump, he has name recognition, he lacks experience and expertise, and he is ready to parrot virtually any Republican talking point placed in front of him.

In many ways, Oz symbolizes the perfect 2022 GOP candidate.

But the GOP’s embrace of Oz also symbolizes the party’s hypocrisy — and the insignificance of its the sectarian rhetoric of “America first”. Here I am referring to Oz’s dual nationality – he is an American and Turkish citizen – and his participation in the 2018 Turkish elections.

In February, Oz lied about his ties to Turkey in a Interview with the Washington Post, saying he had “never been politically involved in Turkey in any capacity”. Facing criticism from its main competitor at the time, David McCormick, Oz sworn to renounce his dual nationality if he won the general election. Some months later, a photo of Oz’s vote in the 2018 election began circulating, contradicting his previous claims about political involvement in the country.

According to ABC News, Oz’s financial records also showed he had “several hundred thousand dollars” in Turkish real estate and signed a “lucrative” endorsement deal with Turkey’s national airline. country.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have been, Oz’s loudest critic of its ties to Turkey. Pompeo said in May that it was important for Americans and voters to “understand the scope and depth of [Oz’s] relationship with the Turkish government. But Pompeo’s statements aside, there was no fervent push within the party to drop the candidate. .)

Oz, for his part, said he retains dual Turkish-American citizenship to care for his mother in Turkey. But would the GOP be as generous in accepting this justification if it came from a Democrat?

If you think they would, I have a building in Turkey that I would like to sell to you.

This, after all, is the same party that spread racist conspiracy theories about Kenyan-born former President Barack Obama in an effort to delegitimize his presidency and question his loyalty as an American.

The GOP staged a similar game against Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, attempting to use her former Somali refugee status. suggest she secretly hates United States.

In 2020, Trump and right-wing conspiracy theorists even peddled the false claim that California Senator Kamala Harris was ineligible to be Vice President because her parents immigrated to the United States from India and Jamaica.

But times are obviously different for the GOP. The party is desperate to reclaim a majority in the Senate this fall, and they will need Oz to win its race against Democratic nominee John Fetterman to do so. That means the GOP, which likes to preach jingoistic ideals of putting America first, will support a candidate in Oz who technically hasn’t.

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