JD Vance to Newsmax: Mandel’s Ohio Attack Ads Funded by Anti-Trump Groups

JD Vance to Newsmax: Mandel's Ohio Attack Ads Funded by Anti-Trump Groups J.D. Vance U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio. (AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 29 April 2022 01:07 PM

Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance Friday on Newsmax hit back Friday at advertising from Josh Mandel, a rival candidate for the state's GOP nomination, saying that Mandel's current ad campaign questioning his support of former President Donald Trump is funded by an anti-Trump group that spent millions fighting against him in his 2016 presidential race.

"Josh Mandel was a RINO who was not exactly on board with Donald Trump early, either, but he's trying to dredge up things I said six years ago," Vance, the "Hillbilly Elegy" author whose campaign Trump has endorsed, told Newsmax's "National Report." "I've been very open about it, and I think it's fine to admit that you were wrong about somebody to admit that you made a mistake."

Mandel's ad points out that in the past, Vance had said that he was a never-Trump person who had declared he might have to vote for Trump's 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, among other statements.

Vance, however, has insisted for some time that he's changed his mind about his past statements after observing Trump's presidency and the attacks that have come against him.

"Of course, the president's been a great president," Vance said Friday. "I'm proud to have his endorsement. The crazy thing about this is the same group that fought trump the hardest. The (U.S.) Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth, which is running these ads in Ohio. They ran a $10 million against Donald Trump in 2016."

And now, those groups are "attacking me because I believe in the president's agenda, especially on trade," said Vance. "I think this is a war for the soul of the party. On the one side, you have the Club for Growth, the Chamber of Commerce, and Josh Mandel. On the other side, you've got me and Donald Trump. Trying to be tough on China changed the Republican party for the better. That's the fight that we're having. It's not surprising."

Vance said he got Trump's endorsement because he backs matters the former president cares about, such as trade in China and keeping the southern border under control, and "I was the guy who was fighting for that stuff, not just in slogans and talking points."

He added that the "incredible corruption" that Trump's presidency revealed about the "FBI spying on sitting president" opened his eyes and "that corruption is part of what we have to fight against."

Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently backed Mandel, but Vance said he doesn't see that as a threat to his campaign.

"We've also been endorsed by Josh Hawley," said Vance. "We've been endorsed by Donald Trump and Donald Trump. Junior congressman Matt Gaetz. Marjorie Taylor Green. We've got a lot of people who are stalwarts of the America First movement, here behind my campaign. I definitely take my endorsements against Josh Mandela's any day."

However, Vance said the main problem where Mandel is concerned is that "he doesn't believe anything that he says. He's been running for office since he was 14 years old. That's the problem with Mandel, not the fact that Ted Cruz endorsed him."

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