The White House asked two Republican Senate candidates to resign from their positions on a presidential council by 6 p.m. Wednesday or be removed.
Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker were appointed in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump to serve on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. Trump appointed them to another two-year term in December 2020, a month before leaving office.
Oz, a celebrity doctor, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Walker, a former NFL star, is a Senate contender in Georgia.
The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition is a federal advisory committee that aims to promote healthful eating habits and physical activity. About 30 people serve on the panel.
Oz tweeted Wednesday that the White House had demanded his resignation by the end of the day. He slammed the move and said he would not do so.
“If President Biden wants to politicize health, he will have to fire me,” he wrote.
Oz has based his campaign on being an outsider seeking to “cure” the Washington establishment. One of his go-to targets is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, whom Oz has called a “petty tyrant” over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His campaign did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the White House request.
It’s against the Biden administration’s policy for political candidates to serve on presidential boards, a White House official told CNN. The official confirmed that letters were sent Wednesday to Oz and Walker requesting their resignations by 6 p.m.
Members of the presidential council are considered special government employees, CNN noted. Under the Hatch Act, they “may not be a candidate for nomination or election to public office in a partisan election.”
The White House announced earlier on Wednesday that President Joe Biden will appoint WNBA star Elena Delle Donne and philanthropist chef José Andrés as co-chairs of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
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