In his approval, which comes ahead of the former president’s April 23 campaign rally in the state, Trump called on Republicans to rally behind Vance before the May 3 primary.
“The Great Movement … it’s time to unite behind the Jedi’s campaign, because, unlike many hypocrites and aspirants, he will put America first,” he said.
Vance said he was “honored and delighted” to have the former president’s support.
“He set a precedent in the White House that I will follow in the Senate. Together, we are going to take back this country,” the candidate said in a statement.
But when he met with the former president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and made several appearances on Fox News, Vance embraced a new image as one of Trump’s leading supporters last year and as a Senate candidate. Former President “America First” policy agenda.
“Like some others, JD Vance may have said some great things about me in the past, but he understands it now, and I’m seen it,” Trump said Friday, describing Vance as the GOP’s “best chance of success.” What a tough race that can be. ”
The promised approval made the candidates buzz
Trump has spent months in conflicting advice from aides and advisers as to who to support in the controversial Bucky State primary, and when – or – he should weigh in. The former president met with four candidates who were actively seeking his approval. He was in constant contact with his advisors about betting – some of them working for specific candidates or primary external groups.
Someone familiar with his thinking, Trump always felt very comfortable around Vance, but was sometimes shocked by the polls he was given, and put his best-selling author behind his MAGA-aligned rivals in third or fourth place.
“His approval is important in the first place, and he does not want to be misunderstood,” said one Trump adviser, who demanded that he remain anonymous to talk about personal discussions.
Trump’s promised endorsements prompted Republicans across Ohio to fight it.
County GOP chairs began distributing a small group draft and letter trying to recall Vance’s past criticisms of Trump. Those close to those campaigns say the letter came to the attention of Timken and Mandel’s campaigns, both of which helped encourage other Republican leaders in the state to sign.
The draft letter was signed by several district GOP leaders and other state party leaders, all of whom support different candidates in the Senate race.
“It’s a grassroots, organic process,” said Lisa Stegan, chair of the Guayaquil County GOP.
Stigan, who supports Gibbons in the Senate primary, told CNN before Trump’s approval that if Trump had planned to support one of the other candidates, I doubt these local party leaders would have come together.
“I don’t think there would have been the same reaction,” he said.
“Jedi Vance will still fail even with the approval of President Trump,” the note said.
But those who expected to change Trump’s intentions of supporting Vance were out of luck. A source close to the former president said Trump had reviewed the new poll, which showed that he was ahead of Vance Timken and Gibbons in being dragged into second place behind Mandel, and that his approval could give Vance a primary victory.
Another source close to Trump said he had come to see former President Vance – his anger against the corporate and political elites had become a programming staple on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” – his “ideological double” and “fallen man”. In line “following Trump coming to power.
“Here is the mistake that everyone makes when they consider past criticism [Trump] He deserves someone in his mind: he considered Mitt Romney to be Secretary of State. This is the weakest argument people make. Trump asked, ‘Can you still be original?’ Said one of those close to the former president.
This story has been updated with additional feedback and details.
CNN’s Brian Rogus contributed to this report.
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