J.D. Vance, running for Ohio Senate seat, says he 'regrets' criticizing Trump


J.D. Vance is the latest Republican hopeful to pander to Donald Trump supporters in the hopes of winning the GOP nomination for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat in the 2022 midterms.

A Republican candidate for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat issued an apology for a string of tweets in 2016 in which he sharply criticized Donald Trump, saying he now has "regret" over his comments.

J.D. Vance, the author of the book "Hillbilly Elegy," had tweeted in 2016 that Trump was "reprehensible" for his views on "Immigrants, Muslims, etc." Vance also said at the time that he didn't vote for Trump in the 2016 election, instead voting for the anti-Trump independent candidate Evan McMullin. He deleted those tweets, but they were unearthed by CNN's Andrew Kaczynski.

While Vance tried to delete the evidence of his Trump criticism on Twitter, there's other evidence of his anti-Trump stance online that he couldn't delete, such as a 2016 op-ed in USA Today in which he wrote that Trump's policies, "range from immoral to absurd."

"Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump back in 2016," Vance said in an appearance on Fox News on Monday. "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."

Vance, for his part, announced his bid for Senate on July 1, becoming the latest Republican to enter the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

He joins a crowded Republican field in which all of the nominees are overtly pandering for Trump supporters by painting themselves as the most supportive of Trump or his policies.

Former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken released a radio ad ahead of Trump's June rally in the Buckeye State in which she heaped praise in the former president. She said Trump's voice has "never been more important," and highlighted her efforts to help elect Trump, saying "no other Senate candidate has worked harder for President Trump."

Meanwhile, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has tried to adopt Trump's tweeting style (from before Trump was kicked off the social media platform), and has pushed Trump's lie that the 2020 election was "stolen."

Trump carried Ohio twice. He carried the state by 8.1 points in 2016 and won by an identical margin in 2020.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan announced his bid for the seat in April.

Ryan mocked Vance for deleting his past tweets.

"@JDVance1 and I have exactly one thing in common — neither of us voted for Donald Trump," Ryan wrote on Thursday while sharing a link to the archived tweet.

The Ohio Senate race is currently rated a Lean Republican contest by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.