On Saturday, Trump surprised many by actively supporting TV personality Dr. Oz over former Under Secretary of the United States Treasury for International Affairs Dave McCormick, especially after McCormick met with Trump twice at Mar-a-Lago in the hopes of gaining his endorsement or neutrality, according to Axios.
Top aides to the former president also advised him to remain out of the Republican primary, which Trump agreed to.
Trump’s surprise endorsement of Dr. Oz, on the other hand, could have been influenced by his wife Melania, who has stated publicly her support for the TV star, according to the IBT report.
“The first lady has let the president know she likes Dr. Oz. And that matters,” a top Republican familiar with the discussions told NBC News.
Melania’s influence on the former president’s decisions was previously highlighted by former White House communications director and press secretary Sean Spicer in the book, “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump.”
“Melania is very behind-the-scenes but unbelievably influential. She is not one to go in and say, ‘Hire this person, fire this person.’ But she lets the president know what she thinks, and he takes her views very seriously,” Spicer told author Mary Jordan, according to an excerpt obtained by The Washington Post.
“The president would say, ‘She is right,’ and that was the end of the discussion.”
Trump, according to the book, believed that everyone had a hidden agenda. He believed, however, that his wife just wanted him to be president.
In addition to Melania Trump, Oz has another strong supporter in Fox News host Sean Hannity, who praised the doctor on his radio show in mid-March. Dr. Oz was featured on various Fox host’s radio and television shows.
Dr. Oz is a Turkish-American who graduated from Harvard University in 1982 and went on to receive an M.D. and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton School of Business in 1986. Before making his first TV appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, he worked as a cardiothoracic surgeon and later became the director of the complementary medicine department at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
Dr. Oz has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment in recent years. COVID-19 has been shown to be resistant to the treatment.