Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Mehmet Oz should declare victory over opponent Dave McCormick in the too-close-to-call Pennsylvania GOP battle for Senate nomination — reprising his conspiratorial playbook from the 2020 presidential election that led to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
“Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump said on Truth Social, the social media platform that he helped found.
Oz, who Trump endorsed last month, and McCormick remain locked in a tight contest in Pennsylvania, with only a handful of votes separating the two as of Wednesday morning in one of the highest-profile races of 2022. Thousands of votes and mail-in ballots have yet to be counted — and the closeness of the race signals a potential recount — making Trump’s Wednesday morning declaration premature.
Trump’s call for Oz to declare victory is an echo of his own effort to steal a victory in Pennsylvania in the 2020 general election from President Joe Biden. Trump, ahead in the vote count on election night in Pennsylvania and other states before mail-in ballots had been counted, preemptively declared himself the winner of the presidential election. The then-president went on to lose Pennsylvania, and the election, as more votes were counted over the subsequent days.
But Trump has never conceded that defeat, instead promulgating baseless theories that the election was stolen from him in Pennsylvania and a handful of other key swing states. That bundle of conspiracy theories, often referred to by opponents as the “Big Lie,” prompted Trump supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an effort to block congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory and remains widespread in the Republican Party.