Dr. Oz said that he won’t resign from a White House advisory council after receiving a letter asking him to step down.
Oz, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, had been an appointee of President Donald Trump to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.
In a video posted to Twitter, Oz said that “it is beyond sad that Joe Biden would politicize such an important issue like health.” He said that he had no intention of resigning and that he would have to be fired.
But the White House also sent a letter to former pro football player Herschel Walker, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. A White House official said that the request was made because both are running for federal office serving on advisory boards . Members of the council are classified as special government employees and are bound by government ethics rules. They were given until the end of the day on Wednesday to resign or they would be removed.
The appointees to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition are selected by the president. Donald Trump appointed Oz and Walker to the council in 2018, and they were reappointed to two-year terms in 2020. Trump also increased the members of the council to 30.
On Wednesday, Biden announced that he was appointing chef Jose Andres and WNBA player Elena Delle Donne to lead the council as co-chairs. Walker had been serving as chair. Other prominent figures have chaired the council, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. The advisory committee’s charter requires that it meet at least once a year.
Presidential advisory councils typically operate with relatively little publicity, but they can become political flashpoints. In 2017, most of the members of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities, appointed by Barack Obama, resigned to protest President Donald Trump’s response to the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, VA. Trump then declined to renew the committee’s authority when it lapsed later that year.
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