GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – Dr. Mehmet Oz is running as a Republican for a United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Wednesday night, he made his first campaign appearance in the area at Mercer County’s Grove City College.

He spent much of his time talking about his opposition to the way COVID-19 has been handled but also touched on China, the Mexican border and if he’s really a Pennsylvanian.

The lecture hall was filled with 200 people, mostly students, and from the outset, Dr. Oz criticized the way the pandemic has been handled.

“We have to take this seriously by not trusting a one-word response from Washington on COVID because the only word they’ve been able to utter for the last year plus is ‘vaccine,'” he said.

Dr. Oz said he is vaccinated and supports people being vaccinated.

“I don’t believe the treatment and long-term cure for COVID is going to be vaccinations. I think it’s a great way of building personal resilience against bad consequences, but we need to treat the illness and we need to honor that natural immunity counts,” Dr. Oz said.

He has not been convinced that masking works.

“The masking data is shameful. We have precious little data that it really matters that much,” he said.

“So I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit more about your connection to Pennsylvania,” a student in the audience asked.

Dr. Oz explained that he grew up near Philadelphia, went to medical school at Penn and business school at Wharton. He said he has owned a house in Bryn Athyn near Philadelphia for 36 years. He also lived for a while in New Jersey.

“I moved to Jersey because I needed to get into the city because I was doing heart transplants at the biggest heart transplant center in the country, which is Columbia,” Dr. Oz said.

On health care as a whole…

“So they say OK, we’re going to give everyone coverage and then we’re going to figure out how to pay for it, which is what happened to health care, and what most people want is their own doctor and transparency around the medical process,” Dr. Oz said.

And on China…

“The real danger with China is they must destroy America. Now, why do I say that? Because they say it,” Dr. Oz said.

Dr. Oz also talked about the border situation with Mexico, calling what’s happening there a “cartel run by a human trafficking operation where they’re running drugs.”