Dr Oz appears to edit his Juneteenth message to remove the word ‘equality’

Dr Oz appears to edit his Juneteenth message to remove the word ‘equality’
Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor is trailing far behind in the polls

A Pennsylvania US Senate candidate’s effort to celebrate Juneteenth on Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform ended in awkwardness when commenters noticed a key word omitted from the final draft.

In a “Truth” posted by Mehmet Oz, better known as TV’s Dr Oz, on Sunday the Republican candidate proclaimed that “[o]ur country is better because of our freedoms, and our unity”.

But Twitter and Truth Social users including left-leaning activist Ron Filipkowski noted that an original draft of the message, which was “truthed” and then deleted, also listed one other virtue to be celebrated on Juneteenth: Equality.

“Our country is better because of our freedoms, our unity, and our equality,” the post originally read.

The Independent has reached out to Dr Oz’s campaign for comment on the reported change in wording.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday commemorating the date that enslaved Black Americans in Texas were proclaimed free under a general order by a Union army commander. The date was officialised in a bill signed into law by Joe Biden in June of last year.

The holiday itself, which is also sometimes called Emancipation Day or Black Independence Day, is controversial on the American right wing. More than a dozen far-right members of the US House voted against establishing the date as a holiday last year, including key allies of former President Donald Trump. The Senate, meanwhile, passed the bill unanimously.

After winning Donald Trump’s endorsement, Dr Oz won Pennsylvania’s GOP primary last month by a slim margin that drove the race into a recount. He now trails his Democratic rival John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, by double digits according to the most recent polling in the race. The celebrity doctor has faced strong criticism from Mr Fetterman, an avowed Yinzer, after it was reported that he remains registered to vote in New Jersey and voted there as recently as 2020.

The lieutenant governor released his own Juneteenth message on Twitter Sunday morning, declaring: “#Juneteenth should have been made a federal holiday a long time ago. Today we celebrate emancipation + reflect on the long shadow of systemic racism in America. PA always stands by the unshakeable truth that Black families matter + Black lives matter.”