The Biden administration sent letters to Dr. Oz and Herschel Walker demanding that they resign from the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition or be removed. Both men are federal candidates running for office. The Biden administration claims their presence on the council violates the Hatch Act.
Both men were appointed to serve on the council by former President Trump in 2018. Both will compete in Republican primaries in May – Dr. Oz is running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Both states are important and considered swing states. Biden narrowly won both in 2020 after Trump won both states in 2016. The people serving on the council are considered to be special government employees and subject to the Hatch Act. The Biden administration is using that as the reason to remove the men from the council. They “may not be candidates in partisan elections” while carrying out official government business.
The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition is an advisory committee. It’s primary mission is to promote the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating, it’s not a political committee, or it shouldn’t be, anyway. Presidents, however, do tend to appoint like-minded people to serve on these kind of boards. Biden, a hyper-partisan Democrat, likely was told by a staffer that two Trump appointees are serving on the board and they can be removed to make way for a couple of liberal appointees. That is what is happening, though Dr. Oz isn’t going without a fight and some tweets. Oz said that Biden is firing the wrong doctor – he should fire Dr. Fauci. Fauci isn’t a member of the council, by the way. There is also a strong possibility that Biden has no idea that changes are being made.
I received this letter on behalf of @POTUS requesting I resign from the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. It’s sad that he would politicize such an important issue like health. The doctor he should ask to resign is Dr. Fauci, for a multitude of obvious reasons. pic.twitter.com/fJaVLKVWOC
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) March 24, 2022
If President Biden wants to politicize health, he will have to fire me. You would think record gas prices, a 40-year inflation high, and the situation in Ukraine would be his highest priorities at the moment.
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) March 24, 2022
There’s no doubt that Biden will carry through with removing both of the men from the council. They have a good excuse. However, it is odd that the administration chose this as the time to do it. Is it just another example of the administration’s incompetence? The men have been running their campaigns for months. The letter that Oz produced is dated March 23, 2022. The administration gave the men until 6:00 p.m. to resign or be removed. Their action looks rushed and sloppy, right? We were promised a professional bunch of workers in the Biden administration, professionals with a lot of experience in government work, by Biden when he ran for president. Yet, we see almost daiiy reminders of the opposite. The Big Guy lied. It’s just the third term of Obama on steroids.
“On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a Member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition,” Gautam Raghavan, an assistant to the president, wrote to Walker and Oz. “Please submit your resignation to me by the close of business today. Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Council will be terminated effective 6 p.m. tonight.”
Herschel Walker hasn’t commented on being asked to resign, at least not that I’ve seen. Frankly, both men are in tough races and I doubt that either has the time to participate in the council’s agenda anyway.
While Oz and Walker were being shown the door, the White House announced two new appointments to the council. Again, the optics are bad for the timing of all this. Both are politically liberal people. Elena Delle Donne, a WNBA star player for the Washington Mystics who is from Biden’s home state of Delaware, and celebrity Chef Jose Andres are the council’s new co-chairs. Andres is known for his philanthropic missions to feed people in dire situations like after a natural catastrophe caused by weather events. His team is currently feeding Ukrainian refugees in that region. He has restaurants in the D.C. area that are critically acclaimed by locals. Andres was an outspoken Trump critic.
Trump reappointed Oz and Walker to two-year terms on the committee in December 2020. Their terms would have been up for renewal at the end of this year.
Donne is pleased with her appointment and made a brief statement on Twitter last night.
In a statement on Twitter, Donne said she was honored by the appointment and the opportunity to serve “alongside someone as generous, kind, and talented” as Andrés.
“I look forward to building awareness around the best ways to take care of our minds and bodies,” she wrote.
Completely honored by this appointment, especially to co-chair this committee alongside someone as generous, kind, and talented as Chef José Andrés. Thank you @POTUS! I look forward to building awareness around the best ways to take care of our minds and bodies. https://t.co/fHrJVStcv5
— Elena Delle Donne (@De11eDonne) March 23, 2022
Chef Andres tweeted this morning.
I’m excited to get to work putting nutrition at the heart of creating a healthy, prosperous & more equitable future for America and the world, where food brings us together to build #longertables https://t.co/WkqSx14qjE
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 24, 2022
The White House describes the two new appointments as “presidential key appointments.” Your opinion my vary. Neither men, political newbies, should be surprised by being asked for their resignations. This is politics as usual and that is all Joe Biden knows after more than four decades in Washington, D.C.