Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a Senate campaign rally at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds in Greensburg, Pa., on May 6, 2022.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Trump expressed concerns about the state of Dr. Oz’s Pennsylvania Senate campaign, per Rolling Stone.
Trump questioned how the ex-talk show host is lagging in the polls given his high name recognition.
The ex-president even asked allies if public polling in the race is “phony,” per the report.
Former President Donald Trump said that Dr. Mehmet Oz would “fucking lose” the Pennsylvania Senate race if he doesn’t change his campaign strategy and questioned how such a well-known television personality could be lagging in the polls, according to a Rolling Stone report.
In private conversations, Trump has called for a course correction for Oz, who in recent months has seen his standing fade among Keystone State voters, per two sources who spoke with the publication.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee, now boasts consistent leads in most major polling, after he recently returned to the campaign trail this month following several months of recovery from suffering a stroke in May.
However, Fetterman remained active on social media virtually the entire time, needling Oz over his campaign missteps and mocking him for his longtime ties to New Jersey.
The Democratic candidate even brought on “Jersey Shore” alum Nicole LaValle, better known as Snooki, to appear in a campaign message meant to troll Oz for leaving the Garden State to run for the Senate in Pennsylvania.
Trump, according to the report, is not amused by Oz’s predicament, as he has wondered how the cardiothoracic surgeon and former talk show host could be struggling in the polls given his sky-high name recognition.
The former president has even asked if the public polling is “phony,” but several individuals have informed him that the numbers are accurate, according to one of the sources who spoke with Rolling Stone.
“This is not a matter of the polls being ‘rigged,’ there are major problems with this campaign and, more specifically, this candidate,” the source told the publication regarding Oz’s campaign.
The source also indicated that Trump said he thinks it would be “incredibly embarrassing” for Oz to lose to Fetterman, whom he calls “that guy,” as the former president reportedly has a low opinion of the Democratic nominee.
Pennsylvania GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz speaks at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Philadelphia, Pa., on August 17, 2022.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Trump reportedly said Oz’s campaign strategy ‘doesn’t make sense’
According to another source, Trump has also wondered if he should withheld his endorsement of Oz, per Rolling Stone.
Trump backed Oz over several other candidates who sought his support, including former hedge fund chief executive David McCormick. (McCormick went on to narrowly lose the GOP primary to Oz by 951 votes out of more than 1.3 million ballots cast.)
“The [former] president has used words like ‘lousy,’ and ‘awful,’ and ‘doesn’t make sense’ to describe how Dr. Oz has been campaigning against John Fetterman over the summer,” another source told Rolling Stone. “Weeks ago is when [Trump] first started asking me and other people, ‘Is he going to fucking lose?’ I am positive that I’m not the only one to tell him that he probably will, if something big doesn’t change.”
On Friday, Trump announced he would travel to Pennsylvania on Sept. 3 to stump for Oz alongside Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who has also been behind in the polls against his Democratic challenger, two-term state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich in a Friday statement refuted the Rolling Stone report, calling it “fake news.”
“Dr. Oz has been on the campaign trail championing the America First agenda and working to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian. In contrast, John Fetterman continues to advocate for the radical policies that are destroying America,” he said.
The Senate contest is an open-seat race due to the forthcoming retirement of two-term GOP Sen. Pat Toomey; it remains by far the most promising pickup opportunity for Democrats this year.
Despite President Joe Biden’s middling approval ratings in Pennsylvania, Fetterman has spent years developing his own personal brand independent of national political influences, and has campaigned extensively in rural and exurban communities that have moved away from Democrats in recent decades.
Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign advisor, told Rolling Stone that the former president should have refrained from endorsing in the primary earlier this year.
“President Trump was best served at the minimum staying neutral in the primary,” he said. “Instead he wholeheartedly endorsed one of the most flawed candidates the Republicans have nationally nominated.”