With the Ohio primary election less than four months away, U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance made a stop at Delaware’s Black Wing Shooting Center on Friday to hold a town hall meeting and engage with residents as part of his “No BS Townhall Tour.”
The tour, which will see Vance speak in 14 cities in a span of six days at its conclusion, began on Thursday in Dayton and also includes a stop in Grove City next week.
“We decided to do this ‘No BS Tour’ because so much of politics is you see people on TV advertisements and you see people doing TV interviews,” Vance said to open the meeting. “I do plenty of TV interviews. It’s an important way of reaching people, but I also think it’s more important to actually get out there and let people get to know you and ask you questions.”
Asked why Delaware was chosen among the 14 cities included in the tour, Vance told The Gazette, “Obviously, there are a lot of voters here and people who are engaged in the Republican Party and Republican primary (election). As you saw, getting 75 people out here mid-day on a Friday, that’s a good thing. Hopefully, they’ll tell five of their friends and that’s how you ultimately win the race.”
Vance has often been scrutinized by Republican voters and, especially, his political opponents for past comments that were critical of fellow Republican and former President Donald Trump. Vance has since reversed his evaluation of Trump, and on Friday he got out in front of the questions that were certain to come regarding his change in opinions.
Vance admitted Friday he did not see “Trump’s promise in the beginning” but has since changed his stance after seeing that “he delivered.”
“(Trump) delivered and he cared about people, and I think it’s important to change your mind. It’s important to say I was wrong about something,” Vance said.
During the 30-minute speech and Q&A, Vance took aim at issues ranging from immigration to the censorship of Americans and the country’s dependence on China.
“We’ve got to offer a positive vision to people. There are so many problems in our country, but one of the things we have to get back to is we shouldn’t say to everybody that they have to go to college, they have to go $60,000 in debt to build a life here, to raise and support a family,” Vance told the crowd.
“One of the things that happened in my hometown … they always said you have to get out of Middletown. There’s not a life here. The steel jobs are disappearing, and that disappearance, ladies and gentlemen, was a choice. It was a choice made to ship our manufacturing and industrial base off to communist China, a regime and country that hates us. It did not happen because of economic law. It did not have to happen. It happened because our leaders chose to let it happen, and it’s one of the stupidest things that an American leadership class has ever done to its country.”
As a result, Vance said, American families are now unable to support families in “middle-class prosperity, like they had been able to for multiple generations in the country,” all while creating an over-reliance on “a group of people who hate our guts.”
According to Vance, perhaps most pivotal to the future of the country is the dismantling of what he feels is an alliance between governments and their corporate friends, especially those in control of all the major communication platforms, to silence Americans who wish to have their own say on the state of the country.
“The main theme, the thing I talk about consistently in this campaign, is that Republicans have to wake up to what’s going on,” Vance said. “Because the corruption in our country is not just in the government, it’s also in the corporate allies of the people who are running our government right now. Every single issue, you look at what’s going on and you see this unholy alliance between our government and their corporate allies.”
Vance also addressed the considerable number of negative advertisements aimed at him through the various forms of media, shrugging them off as an indication that he’s making the right kinds of waves.
“The fact that they’re coming after me is good,” he told the crowd. “The fact that the left-wing media is obsessed with me — Google my name and look at how many stories the Washington Post, CNN, and all the others write about me — they’re obsessed with me because we’re making the right enemies and we’re a danger to them.
“And we need to be a danger to them. In this party, we need to represent people. We need to be the party of working people who work hard for a living, they’re patriotic about their country, and they don’t feel like they have anybody standing up for them and fighting for their interest. From this inflation crisis to the immigration problem, to big tech censorship, I’m going to be the senator who’s fighting for the normal people in this state.”
Following the town hall meeting, when asked what separates him from other Republican candidates in a crowded race, Vance told reporters that he’s not afraid to say the things others are unwilling to voice.
“Whether it’s the January 6 detainees or the big tech issue, I think actually offering some substantive push back on how we’re going to take back the country and not just continue to take it lying down,” he said.
Vance went on to say that while other candidates might be unwilling to acknowledge it, breaking down the alliance between government and corporations is equally as important in fighting back as is the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration.
“I think, unfortunately, too many Republicans aren’t willing to talk about that, but our voters are desperate to hear it, and it’s also true,” Vance said.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.