“I want to thank Sean Hannity,” Oz said, setting off a round of applause during an election night speech, with the race still too close to call. “Sean has been like a brother to me. When Sean punches through something, he really punches through it. He understands exactly how to make a difference, and he’s been doing that this entire campaign.”
“Much of it behind the scenes. Giving me advice in late-night conversations — again, the kinds of things that true friends do for each other.”
He also thanked former President Donald Trump for his endorsement.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the race between Oz and former hedge fund manager David McCormick was still deadlocked and was likely headed for a recount under Pennsylvania law. Trump nonetheless encouraged Oz to “declare victory” anyway.
Hannity has repeatedly crossed the line from TV host to Republican campaign booster over the years, putting Fox News’ policies about staff involvement with political campaigns under the magnifying glass.
Recently, CNN revealed text messages from the day of the 2020 election that showed Hannity obediently taking directions from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Meadows told Hannity to stress to his audience the importance of every vote and to make strong pushes in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada.
Hannity got a slap on the wrist in 2018 after he appeared onstage at a Trump rally in Missouri, with Fox News saying it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.”
During Trump’s time in office, Hannity was known to sometimes speak to the president multiple times a day, routinely dialing him for late-night chats to offer advice and commentary on the developments of the day.