‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance said he regrets his deleted anti-Trump tweets and asked people ‘not to judge’ him amid his bid for Ohio Senate seat

JD Vance Capitol 2017
J.D. Vance, author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy,” poses for a portrait photograph near the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2017. Vance has become the nation’s go-to angry, white, rural translator. The book has sold almost half a million copies since late June. Vance, a product of rural Ohio, a former Marine and Yale School grad, has the nation’s top-selling book. He’s become a CNN commentator, in-demand speaker, and plans to move back to Ohio from SF where he’s worked as a principal in an investment firm.

JD Vance Capitol 2017
J.D. Vance, author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy,” poses for a portrait photograph near the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2017. Vance has become the nation’s go-to angry, white, rural translator. The book has sold almost half a million copies since late June. Vance, a product of rural Ohio, a former Marine and Yale School grad, has the nation’s top-selling book. He’s become a CNN commentator, in-demand speaker, and plans to move back to Ohio from SF where he’s worked as a principal in an investment firm.

  • Author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance discussed his deleted anti-Trump tweets on Fox News on Monday.
  • The Ohio Senate seat candidate said he regrets criticizing the former president.
  • Vance previously visited Mar-a-Lago to seek Trump’s endorsement in the crowded GOP primary.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The bestselling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” J.D. Vance, addressed his anti-Trump history on Fox News on Monday, walking back his past criticism of the former president as the race for an open Ohio seat in the US Senate heats up among Republican hopefuls.

Vance announced his candidacy to fill retiring Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s seat last week, mounting a populist-nationalist campaign in the spirit of former President Donald Trump.

But the venture capitalist, who has the support of conservative billionaire Peter Thiel and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, now faces his first major controversy, after CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski last week retrieved several of Vance’s past tweets in which he criticized Trump.

Vance, who recently visited Mar-a-Lago in Florida to make a bid for Trump’s coveted primary endorsement, called the former president “reprehensible” for his treatment toward “Immigrants, Muslims, etc.” in the since-deleted tweets from 2016. He also said he would be voting not for Trump, but for independent Evan McMullin.

On Monday, Vance addressed the tweets for the first time, telling Fox News’ Alicia Acuna that he regrets his former stance.

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

Vance, who once told Daily Best columnist Matt Lewis that Trump gave the white working class “an excuse to not look inward [and] to not ask tough questions about themselves and their communities,” has done a public about-face in regards to his feelings on the divisive former president since he first started exploring a run for Senate.

Vance said on Monday that he has faced criticism for standing up for Trump voters and their beliefs.

“I think that’s 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.

Vance’s opponents are already using the unveiled tweets as ammunition – a development he told Fox News he was anticipating.

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is also running for Portman’s Senate seat in 2022, tweeted on Thursday that he and Vance have “exactly one thing in common – neither of us voted for Donald Trump.”

Several Republicans and Democrats have already entered the Senate primary and the race is shaping up to be one of the most watched in the election cycle.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ex-Trump critic J.D. Vance is running for Senate after meeting with Trump and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel at Mar-a-Lago, according to new report

J.D. Vance
J.D. Vance

  • Venture capitalist J.D. Vance has told friends that he will run for retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat in 2022, Axios first reported on Thursday.
  • Vance, author of the bestselling 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” recently met with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
  • Before Trump’s 2016 win, Vance said Trump “would be terrible for the country.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Venture capitalist J.D. Vance has told friends that he will run for retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat in 2022, Axios first reported on Thursday.

Vance, who made a name for himself with his bestselling 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” recently met with former President Donald Trump and conservative Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Axios reported.

The 36-year-old Marine veteran and Yale Law School graduate was highly critical of Trump before he was elected president.

“I can’t stomach Trump. I think that he’s noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place,” Vance told NPR’s Terry Gross before Trump’s win in 2016. He also told conservative commentator Mona Charen, “If Trump wins it would be terrible for the country, but good for book sales.”

As Vance predicted, he became a popular translator of the issues facing the struggling white working-class that helped power Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. Over the last few years, he’s become a loyal Republican.

Vance previously worked for Thiel’s venture capital firm, Mithril Capital. In 2019, he founded his own firm, Narya, which invests in start-ups in under-resourced areas. Thiel and other prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and two top Facebook executives, contributed to Vance’s $90 million fund.

Thiel has helped shepherd Vance into politics and donated $10 million to the super PAC Protect Ohio Values, which was set up to back Vance’s Senate bid.

While Vance built his career in finance on support from prominent tech executives, he’s recently taken to condemning the power of “Big Tech” along with other conservatives politicians. He’s called on the Republican Party to remake itself as the champion of the working class and aligned himself with the likes of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who he recently argued “is the only powerful figure who consistently challenges elite dogma – on both cultural and economic questions.”

Several other Republicans have already entered the Senate primary, and the race is looking to be one of the most-watched of the cycle.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Billionaire Peter Thiel donates $10 million to ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance’s potential Senate run

J.D. Vance
J.D. Vance is the author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.”

  • The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Peter Thiel gave $10 million to J.D. Vance’s possible Senate bid.
  • Thiel donated to the Protect Ohio Values PAC, an organization supporting Vance’s candidacy.
  • Vance had previously worked for Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management investment firm.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Billionaire Peter Thiel is backing J.D. Vance’s possible run for the US Senate.

Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, donated $10 million to the Protect Ohio Values PAC, the group told the Cincinnati Enquirer. Protect Ohio Values was formed last month to recruit Vance to run for retiring US Sen. Rob Portman’s Ohio seat.

“Protect Ohio Values PAC is amplifying the many voice who want JD Vance to be Ohio’s next US Senator,” Protect Ohio Values PAC spokesperson Bryan Lanza said in a statement to Insider.

J.D. Vance wrote the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” which recounted his childhood growing up in a white working class Rust Belt town. The Netflix film adaption of “Hillbilly Elegy” recently picked up an Oscar nomination.

Read more: At least 22 governors haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, Insider found. Here’s who – and why.

Thiel also gave Vance financial backing last year, when Vance launched the venture capital fund Narya Capital. Narya invests in tech and science pursuits in cities outside of coastal tech hubs.

Vance had worked for Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management investment firm after graduating from Yale Law School in 2013.

Thiel had been a vocal supporter for Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign and presidency, but backed away from his 2020 reelection campaign. The tech investor had previously put $850,000 into a PAC that backed former secretary of state of Kansas Kris Kobach’s failed 2020 senate bid.

Thiel did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider