After throwing himself into the race for one of Ohio’s two Senate seats, Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance has positioned himself as a pro-Trump candidate. However, Vance hasn’t always been a fan of the former president. CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski recently discovered that the venture capitalist turned author deleted tweets from the 2016 election where he not only criticized Trump, but planned to vote for Evan McMullin. Those deleted tweets put Vance on the defensive over the holiday weekend, and on Monday, he went on Fox News to explain his rationale for removing the tweets criticizing Trump from his timeline.
“Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump back in 2016,” Vance said in an interview with Fox’s Alicia Acuna. “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.”
In the deleted tweets, Vance called Trump “reprehensible,” and like most Americans, he reacted strongly to the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape where Trump brags about assaulting women.
“Fellow Christians, everyone is watching us when we apologize for this man. Lord help us,” Vance tweeted at the time. While most people assumed that Access Hollywood tape would end Trump’s electoral chances, he narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton, and now, Vance has changed his tune as he attempts to court the MAGA Republican base.
“The most important thing, is not what you said five years ago, but whether you’re willing to stand up and take the heat and take the hits for actually defending the interests of the American people,” Vance said in defense of his Twitter activity.