Dr. Mehmet Oz, known to daytime television watchers as Dr. Oz, is getting into politics.
In an op-ed for conservative news website The Washington Examiner, Oz confirmed reports he will enter the race for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat. A source told Yahoo News earlier on Tuesday that the television personality was seriously considering a run as a Republican and it's clear from his verbiage where he stands. Oz praised former President Donald Trump for showing "brilliance" in mRNA vaccine development, called out "government-mandated policies that caused unnecessary suffering" and slammed "elites."
"We are angry at our government and at each other," the 61-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon began. "We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations. 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."
Oz was not shy in acknowledging his television background, which began as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show before The Dr. Oz Show premiered in 2009. He's long been a controversial figure in the medical world but made it clear the pandemic motivated this political bid.
"The reality of our challenges has crystallized during the pandemic," Oz added. "COVID-19 became an excuse for the government and elite thinkers who controlled the means of communication to suspend debate. Dissenting opinions from leading scholars were ridiculed and canceled so their ideas could not be disseminated."
Oz blamed the government for causing "unnecessary suffering" and that "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," he continued. "Elites with yards told those without yards to stay inside, where the virus was more likely to spread."
Oz continued, "Doctors are trained to tell it like it is because you deserve to hear our best advice and make your own decisions. It’s why I have fought the establishment my whole career. In this emergency, we needed capable leaders ready to act. We didn't get that. Sometimes, in medical emergencies, we will need to operate with swift and decisive action. Sometimes, we can use less invasive medications to correct course. Sometimes, we will use preventive health to stop problems from even emerging in the first place. We need to use all of our tools and tactics to get the job done in society, too."
Oz, who highlighted that he's the son of Turkish immigrants, said he wants to "fight for the benefit of our descendants."
"We have fumbled the baton we're supposed to pass to our children. And I want to pick up that baton and start racing toward our promising future," he concluded. "I'm running for the Senate to empower you to control your destiny, to reinvigorate our great nation, and to reignite the divine spark that we should always be seeing in each other."
The 2022 Senate race in Pennsylvania is going to be one of the most competitive and high-profile in the country with GOP Sen. Pat Toomey's retirement. The race blew open when Republican Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by Trump, suspended his campaign last week amid abuse allegations from his estranged wife.
It's unclear what Oz's Senate run means for his namesake show — but the program's website is now entirely about his campaign. A spokesperson for The Dr. Oz Show did not comment when contacted by Yahoo Entertainment.