JD Vance: Trump views people who ‘kiss his a– all the time’ as ‘weak’

J.D. Vance, the author and newly minted Ohio Republican Senate candidate, says he isn’t worried that his past criticism of former President Trump will hurt his chances of scoring the former president’s endorsement in the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). 

In an interview with NBC News, Vance said that while he believes that Trump “gets a certain kick out of people kissing his ass,” he also thinks that the former president views those who do as “weak.”

“I think that he respects people who can defend themselves, who have their own ideas,” Vance told the news outlet Wednesday. 

Vance, who launched his Senate campaign last week, said that he thinks he still has a shot at winning Trump’s support in the crowded Republican primary contest in Ohio. But he also said that Trump had told him previously that he wasn’t planning on issuing an endorsement just yet. 

“He actually wants to see the race play out a little bit and see who among us is the strongest of the candidates,” Vance told NBC News. “He is well aware that I criticized him in 2016. He’s also well aware that I’ve been on TV the last few years defending critical parts of his agenda when other people were not.”

Vance, a venture capitalist, rose to prominence in 2016 for his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which recalls his upbringing in a family from Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Since then, he’s had a hot-and-cold relationship with Trump, whom he has both criticized and praised. 

But his criticism of the former president — which he said last week he regrets — has motivated attacks from his rivals in the GOP Senate primary field in Ohio, which has largely become a contest of loyalty to Trump. 

Besides Vance, other top contenders in the GOP race include former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, investment banker Mike Gibbons and businessman Bernie Moreno.

So far, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) is the only prominent Democrat to have launched a campaign for Portman’s seat. 

Tags 2022 midterms Donald Trump JD Vance Ohio politics Ohio Senate Race Rob Portman Tim Ryan
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