Burned by the backlash that ensued upon former President Trump’s endorsement of celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in the hotly contested Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary, Trumpworld figures are rushing to contain the fallout that has MAGAland in a frenzy.
After a slew of Trumpworld figures expressed shock over Trump’s new endorsement, questions remain on who, or if any of Trump’s closest allies have gotten behind Oz. A new report in Politico signals that a handful of Trump’s allies are in full-on damage control mode.
A number of prominent Trumpworld surrogates are expected to stump for Oz on the campaign trail, which reportedly includes Ben Carson, who formerly served as Trump’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, people familiar with the Oz campaign’s operation told Politico.
One of Trump’s prominent allies at Fox News has also made it clear that he’s firmly in Oz’s corner.
Fox News Host Sean Hannity reportedly was a key player in influencing Trump’s decision to endorse Oz, according to Politico.
Hannity’s role was on full display during Oz’s appearance on his show Monday night. Hannity shrugged off right-wingers’ backlash to Trump’s endorsement of Oz, insisting that they will eventually see the light much like when he first endorsed Trump.
“When I supported Donald Trump pretty early I got the crap beaten out of me — Glenn Beck, Ben Shapiro … and I promised people he’d govern as a conservative and he did,” Hannity said. “And I’m saying the same thing about you [Oz],” Hannity said.
Fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham, on the other hand, isn’t as fond of Trump’s new endorsee. After airing clips critical of Oz’s past positions on abortion and gun laws, Ingraham told guest and former Trump White House aide Kellyanne Conway — who works with a super PAC supporting Oz’s GOP challenger David McCormick — that the former president’s move is a “mistake.”
In addition to Hannity, others in Trump’s inner circle who reportedly played a key role in the former president’s endorsement of Oz were former First Lady Melania Trump and billionaire Steve Wynn, people familiar with the matter told Politico.
Over the weekend, a slew of Trumpworld figures aired their grievances in response to Trump boosting Oz, with a number of them likening the celebrity doctor to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a vehement critic of Trump.
Well before Trump announced his endorsement of Oz, the celebrity doctor maintained close ties with the former president since Trump appeared on his show to discuss his health while running for the presidency in 2016.
Trump signaled in his endorsement announcement that Oz continues to back up his claims of being in “extraordinary health,” which apparently made the former president “like him even more (although he also said I should lose a couple of pounds!).”
Trump also praised Oz’s 18-year run of his now-defunct TV show, telling rally-goers last weekend that Oz’s show is “like a poll” which, in his words, translates to: “people like you.”