Elena delle Donne, Jose Andres to replace Herschelle Walker and Dr. Oz on Fitness Council

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The Biden administration has tabbed WNBA star Elena della Donne and philanthropist Jose Andrés to co-chair the Presidential Council on Sport, Health and Nutrition

The Washington Mystics lead Elena Dele Donne. (AP Photo/Nick Vaas, FILE)

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Wednesday night requested the resignations of Herschel Walker and Dr. Mehmet Oz from the Presidential Council on Sport, Health and Nutrition, saying they would be fired if they did not.

Council members are considered special government employees and, under the Hatch Act, “may not be candidates for nomination or election to public office in a partisan election.” Walker in Georgia and Oz in Pennsylvania are both Republican candidates for the US Senate. He was appointed to the council by Donald Trump in 2018 and for a second two-year term in December 2020.

“On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a member of the Presidential Council on Sport, Health and Nutrition,” Gautam Raghavan, assistant to the president, wrote to Walker and Oz. “Please hand over your resignation to me by the close of business today. If we do not receive your resignation, your position with the Council will be terminated at 6 pm today.”

On Wednesday, the White House announced that President Joe Biden would appoint Washington Mystics star player Elena Dele Donne, who, like Biden, is from Delaware, and philanthropist Jose Andres as co-chair.

In a series of tweets, Oz criticized the move, saying that in a tweet Biden would “have to fire me”, adding, “It is sad that he would politicize an important issue like health.”

Walker hasn’t commented yet.

The White House described the President’s Council on Sports, Health and Nutrition as “a federal advisory committee aimed at promoting healthy, accessible food and physical activity for all Americans, regardless of background or ability.” Founded in 1956 under the Eisenhower administration, it has a long-standing tradition of recruiting high-profile personalities from the sports world to help spread its initiatives.

Some of the council’s previous chairs and co-chairs include Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson, Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musiel, Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire, Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmier, NFL coach George Allen, muscle-building icon/movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Are included. , track star Florence Griffith Joyner, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Olympic gymnast Dominic Dawes, Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Trainer and former New York Yankees Mariano Rivera.

Dele Donne, 32, is entering her fifth season with the Mystiques. In a news release, the White House described him as “one of the most influential players in the WNBA” and noted his off-court activities as a writer and woodworking entrepreneur. Originally drafted by the Chicago Sky, with whom he won the MVP award in 2015, he was traded to the Mystics in 2017 and another MVP in 2019 to lead the team to their first league championship that year. received the award.

Since then, delle Donne has hardly suited up, sitting out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and back surgery, then missing all three games in 2021 due to health issues. However, Delle Donne said last month that she felt “unprecedented” and hadn’t experienced pain in “months”.

“I’m going to work every single day, working on my movements, getting so strong on the court,” she said then. “now I’m back.”

“We are proud that President Biden has recognized Elena as someone who can make a big impact on this commission,” Mystics general manager/coach Mike Thibault said in a statement to the Washington Post. “She represents what an athletic role model should be.”

Andres, 52, is a familiar name to many Washington sports fans not only for his restaurants in the area but also for his charitable efforts. Among them is World Central Kitchen, which the White House lauded for harnessing the “power of food to nourish communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis.” With baseball and nearly every other sport bypassing the pandemic in April 2020, World Central Kitchen partnered with the Washington Nationals to distribute thousands of meals to families and individuals in National Park. Andrés had appeared at the stadium several months earlier to lay out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 5 of the World Series.

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