If you jumped on social media this morning, you were likely privy to outrage from some of the more outspoken Trump-supporting accounts. So who were they mad at and what did that person supposedly do?
The reactions stemmed from Dr. Mehmet Oz, who won the GOP primary for Senate in Pennsylvania recently, appearing to kick Donald Trump to the curb after his victory, at least in regards to his campaign strategy.
Mitt Lite already turned on America First.
Way to go @seanhannity!!
Keep these "great" endorsements coming. https://t.co/LyBFestB1r
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) June 22, 2022
Apparently, Oz has stopped mentioning Trump on Twitter and cleared him from his profile banner. He has also taken Trump off his website’s home page and stopped running ads that feature him and Trump together.
According to a Tuesday report from Axios, Trump was a “near-ubiquitous fixture” in the Oz campaign’s advertisements, with a series of issue-centered videos about gun rights, abortion, and energy beginning with the phrase “endorsed by President Trump.” On social media, Oz’s cover photo was a banner image of himself alongside Trump, his Twitter account “mentioned Trump more than 70 times,” and his team ran Trump-centered ads on Google and Facebook.
However, according to Axios, Oz has not mentioned Trump on Twitter since May 17 — the day of the Republican primary. The cover photo now says, “Thank you, Pennsylvania” on a solo photo of the candidate, and the website no longer features a pop-up fundraiser window featuring Trump. Oz has also reportedly stopped running the Trump ads on Google and Facebook.
But unlike those who are taking this as some kind of betrayal, I just don’t think it’s a big deal. Oz’s goal right now is to win his election, right? If tacking to the center in an extremely purple state helps him do that, then who am I to argue? Regardless of how one feels about Trump, he’s a polarizing figure. There’s little to be gained by Oz continuing to go back to that well during the general election. He has to become his own man, and no one should fault him for that.
I say that as someone who didn’t support Oz in his primary because I think he’s a Democrat who changed almost every position he holds over just a couple of years’ time. But instead of trying to dunk and saying “See? I told you so,” I actually think Oz’s shift here is normal and reasonable. Again, the goal is to win, not make Trump a centerpiece.
John Fetterman, Oz’s Democrat opposition, is a far-left radical, but he plays the “moderate everyman” role pretty well. The decision to make a broader appeal is a smart one by Oz. Big-time Trump supporters are already with him. Now, he’s got to make inroads in the Philly suburbs, and the former president doesn’t help in those areas.
I suspect Trump himself is fine with this change in strategy as well. There’s no doubt he wants his endorsees to go on and win their general elections. If they don’t, it comes back as an indictment of his judgment. I’d also bet that Trump will hold at least one more rally for Oz before this is all over.
In short, no, Oz has not “turned on America First.” He’s just trying to win his election. Perhaps he will ultimately betray GOP voters, but that’s not something that we’ll know until he actually enters the Senate. Then we can get an idea of how he will choose to govern.