Hillbilly Ellegy author and US Senate candidate JD Vance was asked in an interview this weekend about his tweet calling for Donald Trump’s Twitter account to be reinstated after actor Alec Baldwin was involved in a fatal shooting.
Mr Baldwin was involved in an incident last year during the filming of the movie Rust in which a gun in his hand fired and a round struck the film’s director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, killing her. The film’s director was also hit, but not fatally, and the incident is now under investigation.
A day after the shooting occurred Mr Vance posted a tweet tagging Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and asking him to reinstate the former president’s account, writing: “Dear @jack let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets.”
The former president was banned from both Twitter and Facebook earlier in 2021 after making numerous false claims and sharing outright conspiracies about the 2020 election; his supporters then attacked the US Capitol on 6 January in an attempt to thwart the US Senate’s certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Mr Vance defended his remarks as a lighthearted reference to what Mr Trump, whose Twitter presence was infamous long before the 2020 election, would have said about the incident involving Mr Baldwin, one of his top political rivals in Hollywood.
“Look, people may not always agree with my rhetoric, but I think unfortunately, our country’s kind of a joke. And we should be able to tell jokes about it. Right?” he told Spectrum News.
“Every single person that I knew was joking about what would Donald Trump say if he was on Twitter. Right?” Mr Vance added. “So I think the idea that we can’t have somewhat offensive humor sometimes from our politicians is basically just asking us to have fake politicians all the time. That’s not what I’m going to be.”
The GOP hopeful’s remarks came on Sunday, a day before he received the endorsement of Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene in the Ohio Senate race. Ms Greene is one of the furthest-right members of the House and a frequent espouser of false claims about the 2020 election as well as Covid-19 and vaccines.
When Alec Baldwin fired a gun on a movie set last fall that led to the death of a cinematographer, #OHSen candidate @JDVance1 tagged Twitter’s CEO in a tweet and asked him to “let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets."— Taylor Popielarz (@TaylorPopielarz) January 24, 2022
I asked Vance how he justifies that type of rhetoric: pic.twitter.com/vWCbthK4oz
"JD Vance is the conservative warrior that the entire America First movement needs fighting for us in the US Senate, and that’s why I’m proud to endorse him,” she told Fox News on Monday.
Mr Vance is currently trailing Josh Mandel, the race’s frontrunner, and several other candidates according to some polling of the race but all eyes remain on the impending endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who has been eyeing the key Senate race for months and waiting to exercise his power as GOP kingmaker over the field.
The Ohio Senate race is one of the most important in the US for both parties in 2020 as they battle for control of the currently 50-50 Senate, which remains under Democratic control thanks to the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. The state voted twice for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, but has one Democratic senator and the retirement of Mr Portman means that the party has a real shot at picking up the second seat.
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