Let’s begin with a couple of premises. Donald Trump is very careful with his endorsements. They are less about political positions and more about whether he believes a potential endorsement will win. But above all, the singularly most important qualification above all others is crystal clear: loyalty to Donald Trump.
Don’t misunderstand. Of course, a potential presidential candidate should endorse other candidates he or she believes will support him or her, and his or her policies. That goes without saying. But loyalty in the eyes of most politicians and loyalty in the eyes of Donald Trump are two different issues. Donald demands “complete and total” loyalty, without deviation, without question. More on that reality in a bit.
Now, to the “disturbance in the Force,” at hand. As RedState reported Saturday evening, Trump raised eyebrows across the political spectrum with his “complete and total” endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz, just weeks before the contested Republican primary in Pennsylvania. Trump said in a long statement, in part:
This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our Country. The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to Save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz for the United States Senate.
I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, even if only through his very successful television show. He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart.
Trump went on to say he believes Oz will “be the one most able to win the general election,” and would perform well in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. A curious prediction, given that David McCormick, former Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Affairs, is the current favorite. By a slim margin, for sure, but to declare “most able to win,” not so much. And who doesn’t know that the five words in politics Donald Trump most hates are “He did it without Trump.”
While this op-ed is less about Oz and more about Trump and his followers, the famous TV doc — some might say quack — most recently flip-flopped on abortion, suggesting in late 2021 he was “at peace” with the Supreme Court not overturning Roe v. Wade. Yet, only two years earlier, during a 2019 interview, as noted by Yahoo News:
Oz characterized efforts to overturn Roe as a misleading and possibly conspiratorial crusade. Not only was Oz supportive of abortion rights, he seemed puzzled that people would spend time fighting abortion rights—going so far as to say that, as a physician, he was “really worried” about the anti-abortion movement and that eliminating Roe would have negative effects on women’s health. [No mention about the health of dead, unborn children.]
Oz put on his “doctor hat”:
It’s, as a doctor—just putting my doctor hat on—it’s a big-time concern. Because I went to medical school in Philadelphia, and I saw women who had coat-hanger events. And I mean really traumatic events that happened when they were younger, before Roe v. Wade. And many of them were harmed for life.
Bottom line: In the eyes of any honest conservative, Dr. Oz hardly qualifies as anything near a conservative.
Perhaps we should check in with the geniuses of “The View” for their take last November, when Oz announced he would seek political office as a Republican. In a word, they were “baffled.” “He’s gone over to the dark side,” Joy Behar marveled. “What happened to him? What happened to him?!”
Nonetheless, in Donald’s eyes, Dr. Oz is “brilliant” and “well known” on TV, so there’s that.
So, let’s get back to that loyalty thing, for a minute. How many cabinet members and administration officials did Trump laud as “brilliant” and “the best” when he hired them, only to throw them as far under the bus as he could, and drop the dreaded “loser” label on them the nanosecond he unceremoniously showed them the door, often for slightest “betrayal”? (Rhetorical question.)
Alabama Republican Representative Mo Brooks is the most recent example. Brooks, the first member of Congress on January 6 to vote against certifying the 2020 presidential election, had his Trump endorsement withdrawn as he pursues the Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. Brooks’ sin? He told Trump — and said, publicly — there was no legal pathway to boot Biden from office and “reinstate” (another term misapplied) Trump as president.
And so the Trump intrigue continues.
In a Sunday article titled Did Donald Trump Just Burn Some Bridges With His Base Over the Dr. Oz Endorsement?, my colleague Duke weighed in on what impact Trump’s endorsement of Oz might have on MAGA Country and its unwavering support of The Donald. While much of the current grousing is fierce — Duke is not among the grousers — including the following tweet from my old friend Kurt Schlichter, I believe Trump could endorse Ronald McDonald for Congress and not lose a voter. Remember Trump’s “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters” claim? Me, too.
It’s pretty hard for me to fully express how disappointed in Trump I am for endorsing Oz.
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 9, 2022
And, yes, Trump’s claim was purposely hyperbolic to make a valid point: loyalty. Yet violate that loyalty by the slightest of transgressions, and you become a “loser” — if not a dreaded “RINO.” Both terms are used to dismiss “transgressors” and everything they say. As a Constitutional Conservative who has been called a RINO and far worse, I find it amusing as hell.
Finally, I was also going to use as an example Trump’s recent “complete and total” endorsement of Sarah Palin to fill the seat left vacant by the death of longtime incumbent Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, but I figured I’ve already caused enough trouble. The question is, for whom?
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