Trump VP hopeful claims ex-president is ‘clearly a good husband’

One of Donald Trump’s leading running mate contenders declared on Sunday that the former president, who was found liable by a jury for sexually abusing a woman and also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up affairs with a porn star and a Playboy model, is “clearly a good husband”.

Republican Senator JD Vance appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press for a wide-ranging interview with moderator Kristen Welker where he seemingly conducted his latest audition for the role of Trump’s vice president.

His comments about Trump as a positive father and a husband came in response to a question from Welker about a line from his book, Hillbilly Elegy, in which Vance describes former President Barack Obama as a “good husband”.

“I grew up in a broken family, Kristen,” said Vance. “And I just wanted to be a good husband and dad and certainly Barack Obama, despite my many political disagreements with him, he's clearly a good husband and a father.”

He added: “By the way, I'd say the same thing about Donald Trump, whose children love him.”

“I think this is one of the things the media often misses about Trump, is how genuinely devoted he is to his family, to his grandchildren, and how part of his pro-life messaging, his fundamental pro-life view, is that we ought to make it easier for more American families to have those thriving children and thriving families,” the senator continued.

His comments starkly contrast with the known history of Donald Trump’s multiple marriages, countless alleged affairs, and more recent history of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to women who came forward and alleged that the ex-president was disloyal to his third wife, Melania, and committed adultery after she became pregnant with his youngest son Barron. Trump has publicly denied any infidelity, but was recently found guilty on 34 felony counts over falsifying business records to hide a hush money scheme involving those women — the most famous being Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who was paid $130,000 as part of an agreement during the 2016 election.

Vance, a first-term senator, was elected to his position just two years ago after riding a wave of the former president’s support through the Republican Senate primary in Ohio and going on to defeat Tim Ryan, a Democratic congressman, in the general election.

His win was seen as a sign of Ohio’s deepening-red politcs and the power of Trump’s endorsement among the state’s Republican voters.

After less than half a term in the Senate, Vance is now widely reported to be within the top three, if not the top two, contenders remaining to join Trump on the 2024 Republican ticket.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is thought to be his main rival for the job, while North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also reportedly still in the running.

His ascension to the role of vice president in 2025, were he to be selected and Trump were to win, would define a career arc that has been shorter than almost any other politician in Washington and would serve as a clear indication of Vance’s own presidential ambitions.

JD Vance is pictured in the Senate in June. The Ohio senator is one of three men thought to be still in the running to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate. (Getty Images)
JD Vance is pictured in the Senate in June. The Ohio senator is one of three men thought to be still in the running to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate. (Getty Images)

Vance was clearly taking steps to align his positions with Trump’s to the letter in his interview on Sunday — an important step for a man who once described the former president as an “idiot”.

His most notable point of alignment was on the issue of the abortion pill mifepristone.

In the interview, Vance affirmed his support for the legality of the drug, a position that echoes Trump’s own efforts to stake out a less extreme stance on reproductive issues than the absolutist pro-life groups who have called for a national ban and sought to restrict or prohibit other practices like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and over-the-counter contraception.

Mifepristone has been near the top of the list of the pro-life movement’s targets.

“Just to be clear, you support mifepristone being acceptable?” asked Welker.

“Yes, Kristen, I do,” said Vance. On the issue of reproductive rights, the senator charged that reporters frequently “frame Democrats as being reasonable and pragmatic, when in reality Republicans are the one trying to find some common ground”.

Vance also backed Trump when asked about his pledge to appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” President Joe Biden if he takes back the White House in November.

Donald Trump is talking about appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Joe Biden for wrongdoing,” Vance claimed.

“What Donald Trump is simply saying is we ought to investigate the prior administration,” he said – something he falsely claimed Biden had done to Trump.

Downplaying Trump’s threats, he insisted the presumptive Republican nominee was just calling to “do the basic work of investigating wrongdoing”.

That “is a totally reasonable thing for him to do,” he said.

Despite his staunch support for Trump, Vance confirmed that Trump has yet to extend the offer of serving as running mate to the former president, the first candidate in history to run for president after becoming a convicted felon.

“I have not gotten the call, Kristen,” Vance admitted.

“[W]e’re just trying to work to elect Donald Trump. Whoever his vice president is, he’s got a lot of good people he could choose from. It’s the policies that worked and the leadership style that worked for the American people. I think we have to bring that back to the White House, and I’m fighting to try to do that.”