Joe Biden’s White House demanded the resignations of Dr. Mehmet Oz and Hershel Walker from the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition on Wednesday. Both were asked to voluntarily step down by 6 p.m. that evening.
The Department of Health and Human Services says on its website that the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition is a “federal advisory committee” that promotes physical activity and healthy living for all Americans.
According to CNN, a White House official said that having persons who are running for federal office as sitting members of presidential boards is against Biden administration policy. The letter to Oz and Walker said that it was being sent on behalf of President Biden and said that if they did not voluntarily resign, they would be terminated from the council.
Both are running this year for seats in the U.S. Senate, Oz in Pennsylvania and Walker in Georgia. Both are set to compete in Republican primary contests in May. Both men were appointed to the council by President Donald Trump in 2018 and then re-appointed in 2020.
The White House reportedly considered Oz and Walker to be “special government employees.” That classification allegedly places them under the restrictions of the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits persons from running as candidates in “partisan elections” while on official government business.
Oz said in a tweet that Biden clearly cannot tolerate being around anyone who doesn’t agree with his “fear-mongering authoritarian one-size-fits-all COVID handling.” Oz added that he takes pride in his service and will not voluntarily resign. He went on to say that if Biden “wants to politicize health, he’ll have to fire me,” letting Americans see how political and “truly petty” he is.
Walker also held firm in stating his decision not to resign. He tweeted on Wednesday that Biden is “so scared” about the prospect of him beating Raphael Warnock in this year’s Senate race that he demanded his resignation. Walker said that he is “not a quitter” and said Biden “will have to fire me.”
It’s sad to see the president acting so petty about such an important issue. And you’d think he’d show some class on this one during a time when health is a topic at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Oz and Walker should be looking at this as a vacation; they’ll be back after the 2024 elections — their new offices could be very close to the White House by then.