‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author and venture capitalist JD Vance announced a run for U.S. Senate on Thursday, btu before he did that, he took the first necessary step for every conservative candidate for elected office: deleting all of the anti-Trump tweets. Vance deleted several long-standing tweets about Trump prior to announcing his run for Senate, CNN’s Andrew Kacyznski reported Thursday. Most of them came prior to Trump’s election in 2016, such as when Vance said he would vote for third-party conservative candidate Evan McMullin.
“In 4 years, I hope people remember that it was those of us who empathized with Trump's voters who fought him most aggressively,” Vance tweeted in March 2016. “And it was the cosmopolitan conservatives like [Stephen] Moore and [Larry] Kudlow who shamefully apologized for him.”
Vance can’t delete everything he’s ever written that’s problematic for his new persona as a conservative politician, though. As a former contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, Vance once declared Trump was “unfit for our nation’s highest office,” and in another column said that Trump “offers little more than an excuse to project complex problems onto simple villains.” In one of his last columns for the paper, by contrast, Vance described former President Barack Obama—an arch-enemy of Trump and much of the Republican Party—as an “admirable man” and something of a hero to him.
Now, only two tweets mentioning Trump, both from the past few months, remain in Vance’s archive. The most recent was a picture of him and his dad he shared at Trump’s rally in Wellington, Ohio last week, the first in-person Trump rally since the January 6 Capitol riot.
In a Thursday night appearance on Fox News, Vance accused CNN—which hired Vance as a contributor in 2017—of attacking him by simply highlighting some of his old and now deleted tweets.
"I've already been attacked by—CNN's gone after me, the establishment Republicans have gone after me, the leadership of the other campaigns have gone after me," Vance told Tucker Carlson. “It’s time to fight back. If you’re not willing to wade through a little crap to save this country, then you’re not willing to stand up on the big stage, and I am.”
It’s worth noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the quintessential establishment Republican in 2021, reportedly tried to persuade Vance to run for Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown three years ago. His efforts weren’t successful, and Brown kept the seat.Vance, a Yale Law graduate, became famous after the publication of ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ a memoir about his upbringing and his family in Ohio that made him a media star for explaining the white working class. The book landed at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was later turned into a movie for Netflix directed by Ron Howard. Though he portrayed himself as an anti-Trump conservative populist, Vance has veered dramatically right in recent years. He’s now a frequent guest on Fox News, and despite working as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vance has attacked other Republicans for their close ties to Big Tech“Establishment Republican apologies for our oligarchy should always come with the following disclaimer: ‘Big Tech pays my salary’,” he tweeted in April.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire Paypal co-founder and Trump backer who is Vance’s former boss at Mithril Capital, donated $10 million to a Super PAC supporting Vance earlier this year. And as Axios noted in April, Vance’s salary at his day job, at Ohio-based VC firm Narya, has been paid in part by former senior officials at Google and Facebook. Vance enters a crowded Republican field in the race to succeed Sen. Rob Portman, who’s retiring next year. The GOP is a slight favorite to hold onto the seat considering Trump comfortably won the state twice in a row.In addition to Vance, former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel and former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken have announced bids for the Republican nomination, and Rep. Mike Turner has said he’s exploring a run. On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a 2020 presidential candidate, announced a run for Senate in April.