Dr. Oz Stages Photo Op With Paid Staffer Who Lost a Family Member to Gun Violence

Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, speaks during a campaign event in Malvern, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

By Brett Pransky

October 18, 2022

First, it was whether or not he actually lived in Pennsylvania, then it was his days as a peddler of “miracle cures.” Now, the credibility of Dr. Oz’s campaign is called into question again after a staged photo op.

The Dr. Mehmet Oz campaign, like many of the far-right campaigns endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has had a serious problem with honesty and integrity.

For the Oz campaign, this issue has presented itself in a variety of ways. First, Oz was accused of carpetbagging, since he is only a recent resident of Pennsylvania, moving to the commonwealth in 2020 after being a lifelong resident of New Jersey.

Next, the scrutiny shifted to his past history as a pitch man for a variety of sham products, many of them promising to “magically” provide good health or weight loss, or both.

But recently, Oz reached what many are calling a new low after he staged a photo op with a woman who lost two members of her family to gun violence. At an event in Philadelphia back in September, Oz can be seen hugging and consoling Sheila Armstrong, a woman who lost her brother and her nephew to gun violence. While the story of loss is quite real, Oz left out the fact that the woman telling it was a paid campaign operative.

Again, the fact she was a paid staffer does not in any way make her story of loss untrue, or any less tragic, but the staged manner in which that story was told has caused many to accuse Oz of using tragedy to boost his favorability among those who see gun violence as a motivating issue, as many do.

Some time after the event, a staffer from the John Fetterman campaign corrected the record, pointing out in a tweet that Armstrong was a “paid staffer from his campaign.” The Fetterman campaign then produced payroll records and a business card belonging to Armstrong, in which her title was “Philadelphia County Coordinator.”

While the Oz campaign is far from the first to set up a staged photo op, when you add this most recent bit of deception to the laundry list of Oz integrity issues, it becomes quite clear why so many Pennsylvania voters are questioning his ability to represent Pennsylvania, or his ability to simply to tell voters something, anything that is true.


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