Vance Hasn’t Always Liked Trump

[Ralph Branson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

According to multiple reports, Donald Trump has narrowed his choice of running mate to three people: Florida Senator Marco Rubio, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, and Ohio Senator J.D. Vance.

Vance, 39, rose to fame as the author of the book Hillbilly Elegy, a bestseller about growing up in rural Ohio. He has served as a strong surrogate for Trump, writes ABC News, ” attending campaign events, doing media hits and helping court wealthy donors for the campaign. Most recently, Vance attended fundraisers for Trump in Ohio and California. Vance also helped organize the June Silicon Valley fundraiser hosted by entrepreneur David Sacks and acted as the point of contact between Sacks and the Trump campaign. The fundraiser raised $12 million.”

Now, however, the Ohio Senator’s time as a “Never Trumper” before winning his Senate seat may come back to haunt him, writes Mediate.

Senator JD Vance (R-OH) is a leading candidate to be running mate for former President Donald Trump, a selection the former president is expected to make in the coming days. Yet back in 2016, when Trump was running for president for the first time, and Vance was just the author of Hillbilly Elegy, he suggested he believed one of the women accusing Trump of sexual assault.

Many words have been written about Vance’s past comments about Trump, which include him declaring him an “idiot” and comparing him to Adolf Hitler. In a comment that had yet to be unearthed until now, Vance went so far as to signal on MSNBC that he believed the story of Jessica Leeds, who claimed Trump groped her.

Leeds came forward with several other women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by Trump. She testified in the E. Jean Carroll civil trial of which Trump was found liable for sexual assault. Her account was dismissed by Trump and his media surrogates at the time of the 2016 race, but Vance argued during an October 2016 appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews that he was inclined to believe Leeds’s claim.

“This is sort of he said/she said, right? And at the end of the day, do you believe Donald Trump who always tells the truth? Just kidding, or do you believe that woman on the tape?” Vance said, taking a dig at Trump’s track record for honesty.

It wouldn’t be the only time in the recent past that a vice presidential candidate attacked the top of the ticket before joining it.

Besides the resurfaced interview, Vance has faced resistance from some of Trump’s top donors, according to The Daily Beast. “The very same coastal elites who once adored Vance have been trying to sabotage his vice presidential aspirations, according to three Republicans familiar with the veepstakes who spoke to The Daily Beast. All spoke under the condition of anonymity in order to relay private conversations among donors around the most hush-hush of discussions in Trumpworld.

Vance’s two main rivals, according to most reports, stand to benefit: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, for whom Trump has a soft spot as someone seemingly perfectly cast for the job with his founding father-type look, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whom sources described as the “safe option.”

‘Donors have really coalesced around Burgum and Rubio at this point,’ a Republican strategist who has been in contact with donors for months over the Trump veepstakes told The Daily Beast. Vance, on the other hand, ‘hasn’t done anything meaningful’ in the eyes of some of the more traditional Republican major donors. ‘He’s just gone on Fox.'”

According to Trump sources who spoke to The Daily Beast, Burgum remains the heavy favorite heading into the convention.

[Read More: Barron Joins The Team]