Republican Senate candidates JD Vance and Dr. Mehmet Oz met in Pennsylvania Friday night with former President Donald J. Trump, trying to repeat the approval boost that propelled Mr. Vance to a primary win in Ohio — but enthusiasm for the famed doctor was mediocre on a wet and muddy rally.
Three days after helping Mr. Vance capture the GOP nomination in another northern industrial state, Mr. Trump descended on western Pennsylvania to campaign in a downpour for a string of MAGA candidates led by Dr. Oz, one of the frontrunners in a race that could determine control of the Senate.
Even with Trump’s approval, the reception for Dr. Oz mixed, and a tantrum had erupted earlier in the meeting when the doctor’s name was mentioned. The senate candidate tried to polish his Trump bona fides ahead of the May 17 primaries, and the former president vouched for him.
“His show is great,” Trump said in his hour-long speech at the Greensburg meeting, southeast of Pittsburgh. “He’s on that screen. He’s in the bedrooms of all those women who tell them good and bad.”
Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania, a state where its 2020 reelection ambitions collapsed, came days after a leaked Supreme Court draft ruling indicated it could quash the historic Roe v. Wade case.
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But Mr. Trump never referred to abortion, which is an example of how many Republican leaders are silent on the issue for fear of repercussions in the midterm elections. dr. Oz briefly mentioned the matter, saying: “Life begins at conception. I am a heart surgeon. I appreciate it.”
In his speech, Mr. Trump voiced another round of grievances over the 2020 election and taunts at his political enemies, leading several to Dr. Oz in the Senate race, former hedge fund manager David McCormick. “He’s not a MAGA,” Mr Trump said, referring to Mr McCormick as a liberal Wall Street Republican.
Other targets of the former president included actor Alec Baldwin; Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader; and President Biden. Mr Trump played a video of Mr Biden’s verbal abuses on several large screens.
dr. Oz, 61, presented himself as an early adopter of medical therapies promoted by Mr. Trump for the treatment of Covid-19, several of which have been discredited by medical authorities as lacking efficacy and with potential risk.
“When President Trump talked about these treatments, the press hated them,” said Dr. oz. “And because they hated him so much, they were rooting for America to hurt him.”
Mr Trump said that Dr. Oz, like Mr. Vance in Ohio, had been the victim of an onslaught of expensive television advertising attacks by his opponents.
Mr. Vance, 37, a Trump convert who catapulted to a lead in the Ohio polls — and to the GOP nomination — after the former president endorsed him last month, accused those he characterized as established Republicans of being weak. are in opposition to the Democrats’ agenda.
“There is a war for the soul of the Republican Party,” said Mr. Vance, whose reception at the meeting seemed more energetic than Dr. oz.
Along with Mr. Vance, Mr. Trump praised JR Majewski, the surprise winner of a Republican primary on Tuesday in northern Ohio.
Majewski has drawn attention to his trip to Washington on January 6, 2021, though he told a right-wing radio host in January that he was not taking part in the violence. He has also expressed his condolences to believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement and has expressed doubts that the Capitol riots were caused by Trump supporters.
The Trump stalwarts’ skepticism toward Dr. Oz was palpable at the Pennsylvania meeting. When Guy Reschenthaler, the Republican congressman representing Greensburg, expressed his own endorsement of Dr. Oz announced, much of the crowd was booed. When an ad for Dr. Oz that mr. McCormick attacked earlier in the event, there were more boos.
Of the 20 rally participants who, in their opinion of Dr. Oz asked, two said they supported him. The rest were almost evenly split between hating him and saying they knew little about his candidacy.
“I don’t know if I can trust him,” said Robin McDougal, an occupational therapist from Moon Township, Pa. “I like Trump backing him because I trust Trump — but I’ll tell you the truth, it took me eight years to come to love Trump,” said Ms. McDougal, who said she dated Hillary Clinton in 2016. voted.
But Ms. McDougal admitted that she may have been seduced by the negative ads that covered the state during the primaries. “I hear the things in the attack ads – is any of it true? Is any of it true?”
Teri Flati, Mrs. McDougal’s sister, was a bigger fan. She said she was Dr. Oz supported “because of his stance on Covid and because he is pro-life.” It didn’t bother her that he had only recently taken a strong anti-abortion stance.