Dr. Oz takes on China during the election campaign. But he made millions.

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As Americans’ views on China have reached historic lows, Democratic and Republican candidates for the election have sought to portray themselves as tough on the country — and their opponents as soft. The authoritarian nation’s ruthless crackdown on Uyghur Muslims, handling of Covid-19 and censorship have made it anathema to much of the electorate. In states with an industrial heritage like Pennsylvania, many voters also blame China for losing its high-paying manufacturing jobs.

Oz’s negative point against McCormick is a reference to his former company, Bridgewater Associates, which manages 5 billion dollars for China, including money for China’s sovereign wealth fund. Last November, when McCormick was CEO of Bridgewater, the hedge fund raised a new Chinese investment fund, its third, making the firm one of the first foreign managers of private money in China.

While McCormick warned of the rise of China in 2006, he also made sympathetic comments about the country, saying in a 2007 speech at Peking University, “When China succeeds, the United States succeeds.”

He spoke of the “admiration” America had for what China had also achieved, praising the “remarkable success of China’s economic development over the past three decades.” And in an ironic twist, Bridgewater, while McCormick was still in the business, owned $3.2 million worth of Usana stock last September, although as a hedge fund he wasn’t a direct investor in the company but has exposure through indices to many stocks around the world.

Bridgewater declined to comment for this story.

McCormick, fully aware of the political responsibility this poses, has sought to aggressively anticipate criticism of China. He launched his campaign with a editorial in Fox Business titled “It’s time for America’s leaders to confront the Chinese Communist Party head-on,” in which he said he had been so aggressive during his tenure as Treasury official that “top Chinese leaders have made appeal to the President of the United States to soften the technology controls that I put in. He also distanced himself of his former business partner Ray Dalio’s controversial comments about the country, which seemed to downplay China’s human rights record.

Having Oz exposed to his own relationship with China could give McCormick the opportunity to cover his tracks and make it harder for Oz to land a blow on his rival. It can also potentially allow other Republican candidates, such as developer Jeff Bartos, to argue that they are an alternative with no ties to China. Oz and McCormick, both self-financers, are the top two spenders in the GOP Senate primary.

The exact amount Oz and his show made from their relationship with Usana is unclear. But in a 2018 court filing in a trademark infringement case against Usana, the plaintiff said the Oz show had been paid more than $50 million in the previous five years to promote Usana’s products. Usana.

Oz campaign spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said the numbers were “incorrect and overstated” and Usana spokesperson Dan Macuga also disputed the figure. Both declined to provide their own numbers, citing contractual confidentiality obligations.

“Usana was an integrations advertising partner with The Doctor Oz Show, who was paid for the partnership, and not directly with Dr. Mehmet Oz,” Yanick said. She added that her former TV show’s other partners and sponsors included major US corporations such as Procter & Gamble and Walmart, as well as many others who paid the Emmy-winning show for advertising. She also noted that the show airs in over 100 countries.

“Usana is a publicly traded American company that manufactures products in the United States for American consumers and manufactures products in China for that market,” Yanick said. “It should be a model for other American companies, unlike David McCormick’s track record of exporting jobs to China and India from the dark corners of Wall Street.”

Referring to Oz’s ties to China, McCormick campaign spokesperson Jess Szymanski told POLITICO: “Mehmet Oz – Turkish citizen, Hollywood creature – has spent the last 20 years making a fortune by syndicating his show in China, enriching himself through censorship and the CCP. propaganda,” and that “while Mehmet remained silent on China until he needed to overturn Dave’s credentials, Dave was serving our country and standing up to the [Chinese Communist Party].”

In its 2020 edition report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Usana said China is its “largest market and source of revenue,” accounting for about 41% of net sales and about 38% of active customers. In other court documentsUsana said his Chinese business has several hundred thousand people who are distributors and customers.

In 2017, Usana’s Chinese subsidiary opened a new $40 million, 350,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Beijing that manufactures nutritional supplements for its Chinese customers, with a senior company executive saying at the time, they were “committed to customer growth in China.” Its global headquarters and an adjacent US manufacturing facility are in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has another manufacturing facility in Tianjin, China.

In a class of 2017 video for his delivered titled “Yin Yang You: Biohacking with Ancient Codes”, Oz explained how he “teamed up with Usana for over a decade to travel the world in search of the best science to help you live better, longer lives” . In the video, Oz praises Usana and says that his “global efforts to seek health solutions know no bounds” and that he had the good fortune to study with “renowned Chinese traditional doctors.” world”. A few years earlier he blew a kiss to Usana employees in a vacation video.

Additionally, Oz traveled to China for business purposes. After a three-day trip to China in 2018, A press release said Oz “filmed segments for his shows” and conducted interviews with China’s state-owned CCTV. Shortly before his trip in 2018, Oz noted in a video he “loves[s] working in China” and would “talk to the Chinese media”. He also has went to china the following year for a nutrition conference organized by Usana Babycare.

A annual report 2018 by Usana’s SEC filing said the company’s partnership with the Oz TV show “has historically focused on our region of North America” ​​but “is now also focused on China.”

“Usana had the opportunity to work with Sony Pictures Television, The Dr. Oz Show and Dr. Mehmet Oz as the Emmy-winning program’s trusted sponsorship partner,” Usana’s Macuga said in a statement. “This gave us the unique opportunity to showcase our products to a large health-conscious TV audience. With the end of the Dr. Oz Show, our partnership also ended. Dr. Oz is a highly respected physician, and we have enjoyed working with him and The Dr. Oz Show over the past few years.

Asked about CCTV interviews, Yanick said, “Dr. Oz has spoken to many outlets in countless countries to empower people to take control of their own health. Empowering people is very different from McCormick raising funds to benefit the Chinese Communist Party.

Usana, a publicly traded company, was investigated by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission several years ago over whether its operations in China complied with the Securities Practices Act. Foreign Corruption, which prohibits US companies from paying bribes abroad. The US government firm investigation in June 2020 because, according to Usana, it promptly disclosed the issue, cooperated with authorities, and took steps to investigate and reform its practices. The company fired certain employees and senior officers of BabyCare.

Besides Usana, Oz had another major connection to China through his show, which he and Sony brought to the country in 2010 when they launched a Chinese versiontitled “Health is the most important,” on Zhejiang Satellite TV.

No public polls in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary have been released since McCormick entered the race last month, though two state gubernatorial campaigns recently said their internal investigations found Oz in head. Oz, however, fared poorly in mock polls of Pennsylvania Republican Party members, which will determine this weekend whether to endorse the Senate contest.

China has played an increasingly important role in this race. Monday, Oz tweeted a link to a news article about his recent visit to northwestern Pennsylvania, where he said during a campaign stop that “China is chasing us.” McCormick tweeted a same-day link to a Breitbart’s story which trumpeted “Exclusive – Republican nominee David McCormick calls for ‘whole nation strategy’ to fight Chinese influence.”

A pro-Oz super PAC, American Leadership Action, aired a TV advertising who said McCormick “runs a hedge fund with a billion-dollar Chinese investment program”, “calls China our ally” and “criticizes President Trump’s China policies”. A place The Oz campaign said “Wall Street has outsourced your jobs to China” and called for “leaders with the courage to fight on.”

The attack ad from Oz bashing McCormick, which is running in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre and Johnstown media markets, said: ‘China sent us Covid, then David McCormick’s hedge fund gave billions to Chinese companies – we got sick, China got investments, and David McCormick got rich.

Sam Sutton contributed to this report.

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