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Dr. Oz, Rallying With Trump in Pennsylvania, Meets a Damp Reception

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The Republican Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Dr. Mehmet Oz rallied on Friday night in Pennsylvania with former President Donald J. Trump, looking for to duplicate the endorsement boost that lifted Mr. Vance to a primary victory in Ohio — but enthusiasm for the celebrity doctor was middling at a wet and muddy rally.

Three days after helping Mr. Vance capture the G.O.P. nomination in one other Northern industrial state, Mr. Trump descended on western Pennsylvania to campaign in a rainstorm for a slate of MAGA candidates led by Dr. Oz, one among the front-runners in a race that would determine control of the Senate.

Even with Mr. Trump’s endorsement, the reception for Dr. Oz was mixed, and boos had erupted earlier within the rally when the doctor’s name was mentioned. The Senate candidate sought to burnish his Trump bona fides ahead of the May 17 primary, and the previous president vouched for him.

“His show is great,” Mr. Trump said in his hourlong speech on the rally in Greensburg, southeast of Pittsburgh. “He’s on that screen. He’s within the bedrooms of all those women telling them good and bad.”

Mr. Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania, a state where his re-election ambitions crumbled in 2020, got here days after a leaked draft ruling from the Supreme Court signaled that it could strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

But Mr. Trump never referred to abortion, exemplifying what number of Republican leaders have been quiet on the problem for fear of repercussions within the midterm elections. Dr. Oz mentioned the problem briefly, saying: “Life starts at conception. I’m a heart surgeon. I value it.”

In his speech, Mr. Trump aired a fresh round of grievances concerning the 2020 election and taunts for his political enemies, directing several at Dr. Oz’s chief rival within the Senate race, the previous hedge fund executive David McCormick. “He’s not MAGA,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Mr. McCormick as a liberal Wall Street Republican.

The previous president’s other targets included the actor Alec Baldwin; Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader; and President Biden. Mr. Trump played a video of Mr. Biden’s verbal miscues on several large screens.

Dr. Oz, 61, presented himself as an early accepter of medical therapies promoted by Mr. Trump for the treatment of Covid-19, several of which were discredited by medical authorities as lacking efficacy and fraught with potential risk.

“When President Trump would speak about these treatments, the press hated it,” Dr. Oz said. “And since they hated him a lot, they were rooting against America with the intention to hurt him.”

Mr. Trump said that Dr. Oz, like Mr. Vance in Ohio, had been the victim of an onslaught of pricy television attack ads by his opponents.

Mr. Vance, 37, a Trump convert who catapulted to a lead within the polls in Ohio — and to the G.O.P. nomination — after the previous president endorsed him last month, accused those whom he characterised as establishment Republicans of being feeble of their opposition to the Democrats’ agenda.

“There may be a war for the soul of the Republican Party,” said Mr. Vance, whose reception on the rally seemed to be more energetic than that for Dr. Oz.

Together with Mr. Vance, Mr. Trump praised J.R. Majewski, the surprise winner of a Republican House primary election on Tuesday in northern Ohio.

Mr. Majewski has drawn attention for traveling to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, though he told a right-wing radio host in January that he didn’t take part in the violence. He has also expressed sympathy for believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement and floated doubts that the Capitol riot was driven by Trump supporters.

The skepticism of the Trump faithful toward Dr. Oz was palpable on the Pennsylvania rally. When Guy Reschenthaler, the Republican congressman who represents Greensburg, announced his own endorsement of Dr. Oz, a big segment of the group booed. When an ad for Dr. Oz that attacked Mr. McCormick was played earlier within the event, there have been more boos.

Out of 20 rally attendees asked for his or her opinions on Dr. Oz, two said they supported him. The remaining were nearly evenly divided between disliking him and saying they knew little about his candidacy.

“I don’t know that I can trust him,” said Robin McDougal, an occupational therapist from Moon Township, Pa. “I like that Trump is endorsing him because I trust Trump — but I’ll let you know the reality, it took me eight years to come back to love Trump,” said Ms. McDougal, who said she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But Ms. McDougal allowed that she had perhaps been swayed by the negative ads which have blanketed the state throughout the first. “I hear the stuff within the attack ads — is none of it true? Is a few of it true?”

Teri Flati, Ms. McDougal’s sister, was a much bigger fan. She said she supported Dr. Oz “due to his position on Covid, and since he’s pro-life.” It didn’t trouble her that he had only recently adopted a firm anti-abortion stance.

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