Former President Donald Trump has endorsed ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author and upstart conservative JD Vance in Ohio’s crowded Republican primary for the US Senate. Vance was once a scathing critic of Trump but has since become a favorite among the former president’s base for his hardline stance on immigration and opposition to foreign wars.
Predicting a Republican “landslide” in Ohio this November, Trump declared on Friday that “it is time for the entire MAGA movement, the greatest in the history of our country, to unite behind JD’s campaign because, unlike so many other pretenders and wannabes, he will put America First.”
“In other words, JD Vance has my complete and total endorsement,” Trump concluded.
Vance is one of seven Republicans vying for a shot at the party’s nomination in Ohio this year. But he is facing stiff competition from establishment stalwarts Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel, both of whom lobbied for Trump’s endorsement, with Gibbons touting his work on Trump’s 2016 campaign and Mandel invoking Trump when he promised last year “I’m not just going to drain the swamp, I’m going to blow up the swamp.”
Yet both espouse traditional Republican positions on foreign policy and, during a debate last month, advocated for more US involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Vance did not, and won the debate by a margin of two to one.
“I’m very distressed, frankly, that for four years Congressional Republicans refused to give Donald Trump $4 billion for a border wall,” he said during the debate. “$4 billion for a border wall when fentanyl was pouring into our country, killing our citizens by the tens of thousands. In one week they gave Joe Biden $14 billion for Ukrainian aid.”