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Tipsheet

Is the Media Jumping the Gun When it Comes to Warnings on Trump's Planned Endorsement in Ohio?

AP Photo/Chris Seward

Former President Donald Trump will reportedly soon endorse JD Vance in the closely watched Ohio primary to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican. Time is ticking, as the primary is less than a month away, on May 3; early voting has already started. The mainstream media has been quick to report on the expected endorsement and potential reactions, so quick in fact, that they have gotten a few things wrong.

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The report about Trump's endorsement came on Thursday from NBC News, which I cited in my own reporting from last night. Included in the report was a suggestion that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) took issue with Trump's reportedly coming endorsement of JD Vance, implying he supported Josh Mandel instead, though a correction has now been issued. 

As of Friday morning, the report reads:

"The Mandel people hit the roof," one Republican with knowledge of the discussions told NBC News, noting that Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan tried to dissuade Trump from the endorsement.

...

CORRECTION (April 14, 2022, 6:13 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Rep. Jim Jordan’s involvement in the Ohio Senate GOP primary. He remains neutral; he has not endorsed Josh Mandel.  

Also on Thursday came a POLITICO report, claiming that "Ohio Republicans gang up to stop Vance endorsement." As of Friday morning, it's currently the most read article on POLITICO. 

The report in part reads:

Republican rivals to J.D. Vance have embarked on a last-ditch effort to stave off an endorsement from Donald Trump in Ohio’s Senate primary, a response prompted by swirling speculation that the former president is close to backing Vance in the contentious race. 

...

A collection of more than three dozen county GOP chairs and state party central committee members — including some from the state’s most populous counties — also banded together to sign a letter urging Trump not to endorse Vance, noting that he “referred to your supporters as ‘racists’ and proudly voted for Evan McMullin in 2016.” 

“While we were working hard in Ohio to support you and Make America Great Again,” they wrote in a letter obtained by POLITICO, “JD Vance was actively working against your candidacy.”

Lisa Stickan, the chair of the Cuyahoga County GOP, said a group of county Republican chairs and state central committee members came up with the letter on Thursday after NBC reported that Trump plans to endorse Vance.

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The brief letter in part mentioned:

We do not support JD Vance for the aforementioned reasons and would urge you not to endorse anyone in this race. Beyond any primary election concerns we have with Vance, there is also a real concern that his previous statements about you will work to suppress the turnout of the Republican base in the general election, further risking a Republican majority in the US Senate. 

Below are comments made by Vance about you: 

• “Trump is exploiting something but he’s also leading the white working class to a very dark place.” 

• “What Trump is, is another opioid.” 

• Trump’s actual policy proposals, such as they are, range from immoral to absurd.” 

• Vance said he wanted Hillary Clinton to win the General Election, teased voting for Clinton himself and ultimately voted for Never Trump candidate Evan McMullin: 

• “I think there’s a chance, if I feel like Trump has a really good chance of winning then I might have to hold my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton I might vote for this new guy who I really like Evan McMullin… I can’t stomach Trump, I think that he is noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place.” 

• “I hope that [Trump] is soundly defeated.”  

Concerns over such previous comments were cited in the NBC News report, though Vance has support from those close with Trump, including former advisers as Michael Caputo and Steve Cortes, and Donald Trump Jr. In a piece for American Greatness from February, which Cortes tweeted on Thursday, Cortes acknowledged Vance's previous misgivings about Trump. He wrote:

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Vance also finds detractors among GOP skeptics claiming that he is insufficiently MAGA because of his prior criticisms of President Trump. Like millions of Americans—myself included—Vance was indeed suspicious at first of Donald Trump. But, once won over by President Trump’s policy successes, Vance quickly reversed himself. This conversion represents an authentic example of Vance’s thoughtfulness. He is a leader willing to reconsider issues and people. What’s more, his embrace of the 45th president and Trump’s agenda cost him dearly—he immediately lost the adoration of the elites who had formerly welcomed him.  

Included in the three dozen county chairmen and chairwomen who appear to have signed onto the letter, which has no letterhead, is Tony J. Schroeder, Putnam County. 

On Friday morning, however, the Putnam County account tweeted statements from Schroeder, who clarified he had not signed onto the letter, and was not endorsing Vance, but rather was remaining neutral and was instead focusing on beating out the Democratic candidate, who could be Rep. Tim Ryan. The county has a no endorsement bylaw where they do not endorse candidates in contested elections. If the chairman were to personally endorse anyone, he would have to get permission from the executive committee. 

Further, POLITICO did not reach out to Schroeder, the chairman told Townhall. 

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Tweets also indicated that Schoeder has asked POLITICO to correct their story, though the report has not yet been updated. The last update came Thursday night, minutes after the report was first published.

Trump is coming to Delaware County, Ohio on April 23, where many believe Trump could make his endorsement. 

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