Conservatives blasted former President Donald Trump on social media after he endorsed Mehmet Oz in the GOP primary for the Pennsylvania Senate.
The former president endorsed the doctor, who rose to fame thanks to The Dr Oz ShowSaturday night at his rally in Selma, North Carolina, praising him as a “smart, tough, and never gonna let you down” candidate.
The Senate race in Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the tightest in the nation, with several Republicans vying for the nomination. With his celebrity status, Oz is considered a frontrunner in the race, but still faces skepticism from some conservative voters.
“He even said I was in amazing health, which made me love him even more (although he also said I should lose a few pounds!),” Trump wrote in his endorsement.
Trump specifically noted that Oz would do better than other candidates in the Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, “where other candidates simply won’t be accepted.”
However, conservatives took to Twitter to share their contempt for the endorsement saying Oz would not be conservative enough in the Senate, with some pointing to his previous comments on abortion and gun control.
Sean Parnell, the Senate nominee Trump previously endorsed before stepping down due to domestic violence allegations, wrote on Twitter that while he has “tremendous respect” for the former president, he is “disappointed “of approval.
“Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president I’ve ever had – he’s the farthest from America First and he would be very bad for PA,” he wrote.
Timothy Swain, who is running for a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives, criticized the “terrible endorsement” saying Oz would be “Romney 2.0”, referring to Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, who spoke out against Trump.
Joel Pollack, editor of Breitbart, tweeted that the endorsement “could divide MAGA in the only way that matters: it could lose America First conservatives over it.”
Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, blamed Trump’s staff for the endorsement.
“This is happening because Trump has surrounded himself with employees who are on McConnell’s payroll and hostile to the MAGA agenda. Everyone tells Trump who to approve in the primaries works for The Swamp,” he said. he writes. “They played it. Again.”
Oz announced his Senate campaign last November after Parnell withdrew from the race, immediately bringing big notoriety to the crowded primary. Polls have indicated the primary is competitive, with Oz leading in many polls, businessman David McCormick leading others.
Whoever wins the primary will still face a competitive race in November in a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020. Few polls are currently available on the race, but Cook Political Report ranks it as a ” toss-up”.
Newsweek contacted Trump’s press office and the Oz campaign for comment.