Trump made his much-awaited endorsement decision in Ohio’s GOP Senate race over the weekend. After much deliberation, Trump has backed businessman and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance. The decision reportedly came down to a choice between Vance and former Ohio State Rep. Josh Mandel.
“It is time for the entire MAGA movement, the greatest in the history of our Country, to unite behind J.D.’s campaign … he will put America First,” Trump wrote in a statement. “In other words, J.D. Vance has my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will not let you down. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The Senate hopeful quickly thanked the former President in a tweet. “I’m incredibly honored to have President Trump’s support,” wrote J.D. Vance. “He was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I’ll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate.”
I'm incredibly honored to have President Trump's support. He was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I'll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate. https://t.co/s3d3JhTgBC
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) April 15, 2022
In a late bid to secure the endorsement, Mandel’s campaign submitted an internal poll that claimed he would beat Vance even with a Trump endorsement. This was ultimately unsuccessful.
In endorsing Vance, Trump is giving the nod to a former critic of his. Vance has criticized Trump’s decorum on numerous occasions. In 2016, he opted not to support Trump and instead voted for former CIA officer Evan McMullin.
Vance’s tune on Trump has since changed, however. “Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump back in 2016,” Vance said last July. “And I ask folks not to judge me based on what I said in 2016, because I’ve been very open that I did say those critical things and I regret them, and I regret being wrong about the guy.”
On policy, Vance is running on an aggressive agenda that includes breaking up big tech through antitrust measures, ending welfare for illegal immigration, reducing legal immigration levels and imposing fierce tariffs on China-made products.
The Ohio Republican Senate primary election is set for May 3.