Snake oil in the White House

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced a slew of well-known celebrities, doctors, executives and athletes to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ website, the council “engages, educates, and empowers all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. Since 1956, the council has created and promoted programs and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to be active and eat healthy.”

I’m not sure that members of the council will actually have much sway in the national debates surrounding sports, fitness, and nutrition—and that may be a good thing.

Let’s start with the Public Enemy No. 1 on the list: Dr. Oz.

I continually baffled how Dr. Oz. continues to rise in fame in today’s society. It’s well known that he has continued to peddle unscientific, emotionally charged medical advice and snake oil-type products on his television show, “The Dr. Oz. Show.” Heck, he even testified at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill where senators grilled him about his controversial weight-loss supplements. His defense was that he was a “cheerleader” for his viewers. Please.

He also is vehemently opposed to modern agriculture. He has dedicated a good chunk of airtime on his shows to spouting discredited anti-GMO theories and fear mongering to his all too trusting audience. He regularly featured the “Food Babe” on his show, who stands for just about everything that you and I are against, scientifically and especially with respect to agriculture.

Plain and simple—Dr. Oz and his mouth is a large reason why consumers do not trust farmers and food companies.

Aside from Dr. Oz, who is arguably the most recognizable name on the list, the other members seem like a pretty well-rounded group as it relates to sports, fitness, and nutrition.

President Obama’s Council appeared active, as highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative to get kids exercising and eating healthy foods. President Trump says his council “aims to expand and encourage youth sports participation, and to promote the overall physical fitness, health, and nutrition of all Americans,” according to the Executive Order.

Notable names on the Council include retired NFL running back Herschel Walker, Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, former bodybuilder (also known as the Incredible Hulk) Lou Ferrigno, former Major League Baseball players Johnny Damon and Mariano Rivera, golfer Natalie Gulbis Rodarmel and general manager and coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick.

Other members you might recognize are Brenda Larsen Becker, Trevor Joseph Drinkwater, Robert Goldman, Nan A.S. Hayworth, Matthew Hesse, Ashlee Lundvall, Jacob Olson, Shauna L. Rohbock, Kyle Frederick Snyder, Stephen Soloway, Julie Teer, Chris Tisi, Robert Charles Wilkins, Samuel James Worthington Jr. and Linda Yaccarino.

Members of the council serve for two years. But I’m hoping a “Survivor” TV show situation happens, and the members of the council kick Dr. Oz off the island.

Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.