Trump stumps for Vance while acknowledging he ‘said some bad s— about me’

Former President Trump stumped for Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance on Saturday, while acknowledging during his rally that Vance has “said some bad sh– about me.”

“He’s a guy that said some bad sh– about me, he did,” Trump said. “But, you know what? Every one of the others did also.”

“[In] fact, I went by that standard, I don’t think I would have ever endorsed anybody in the country … They all said bad, but they all came back,” the former president continued. “But I will tell you he was tough … but the others were tough and they all — a lot of them — said some really bad things. And ultimately I put that aside.”

Vance conceded during the rally, “I wasn’t always nice.”

“The president is right. I wasn’t always nice, but the simple fact is, he’s the best president of my lifetime, and he revealed the corruption in this country like nobody else,” he said.

The “Hillbilly Elegy” author has been bashed by super PACs and others for previous comments he made against Trump, including saying, “I’m a never-Trump guy. I never liked him.”

He has also been slammed for previously saying he “might have to hold my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Vance has already apologized for his past comments, including during a Fox News interview in July 2021. 

“Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump back in 2016,” Vance said at the time. “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. I think he was a good president, I think he made a lot of good decisions for people, and I think he took a lot of flak.” 

More than 30 Ohio Republican leaders wrote to Trump earlier this month to urge him not to endorse Vance. Those appeals ultimately did not deter the former president from backing the “Hillbilly Elegy” author, however; Trump announced his endorsement for Vance last week.

During the rally, Trump touted Vance’s Yale law credentials and experience as a former Marine.

“He’s a fearless MAGA fighter. He fights like crazy, and he loves Ohio and he frankly — he’s a great Buckeye,’ Trump said.

Trump’s endorsement of Vance, which came late in the Ohio Senate race and just weeks away from the May 3 primary, is a major asset for the Ohio Republican candidate given Trump’s influence within the GOP party. 

Vance, who was trailing rivals in the primary prior to receiving Trump’s backing, only has a few weeks to leverage that endorsement, however.

Unlike Trump’s remarks about Vance, who has since reversed course after his past criticism of Trump, the former president did not hold back from going after other lawmakers and politicians, many of whom have also been critical of him.

He called out several by name, including “cryin’” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.); “little” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.); Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whom he called a “terrible senator”; “lyin’” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R); and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

One name not mentioned during his speech, however, was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who made headlines this week after a New York Times report and audio recordings aired on MSNBC and CNN signaled that he planned to urge the then-president in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know,” McCarthy says in audio aired by MSNBC this week from a Jan. 10 House leadership call he was on.

Both McCarthy and Trump said on Friday that their relationship was still intact following the release of the audio. The California Republican said he had spoken to the former president twice that day and claimed the call was “overblown.”

“No, I’ve never asked the president to resign, never thought he should resign,” McCarthy also asserted.

“He made a call. I heard the call. I didn’t like the call,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Friday, referring to McCarthy. “But almost immediately as you know, because he came here and we took a picture right there—you know, the support was very strong.”

Trump said of McCarthy and others who previously criticized him but later backed him, “They realized they were wrong and supported me,” noting to the Journal, “I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly.”

Tags Donald Trump J.D. Vance Kevin McCarthy Ohio

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