Potential Trump running mate JD Vance says he still questions results of 2020 election

JD Vance, the Ohio senator who is being floated as a potential Republican running mate to Donald Trump, said Sunday that he still questions the results of the 2020 election and that the votes should not have been immediately certified.

“Do I think there were problems in 2020? Yes, I do,” Vance told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, adding it was “ridiculous” to ask if he would have certified the results as Mike Pence had done and told the host he was “obsessed with talking about this”.

In a contentious interview, the senator also suggested that Trump should ignore “illegitimate” US supreme court rulings.

That remark came after Vance was questioned about a 2021 podcast during which he said he would advise Trump to “fire every single mid-level bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people” and ignore legal rulings against it.

“We have a major problem here with administrators and bureaucrats in the government who don’t respond to the elected branches … If those people aren’t following the rules, then of course you’ve got to fire them, and of course, the president has to be able to run the government as he thinks he should,” Vance said.

“The constitution says that the supreme court can make rulings … but if the supreme court said the president of the United States can’t fire a general, that would be an illegitimate ruling,” added Vance, whose wife, Usha Chilukuri Vance, has previously clerked for John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, the supreme court justices.

Vance also argued that the civil claims and criminal cases against Trump were not legitimate efforts to prosecute the former president for wrongdoing, but “about throwing him off the ballot because Democrats feel that they can’t beat him at the ballot box. And so, they’re trying to defeat him in court”.

The interview ended badly, with the network cutting to a commercial break after Stephanopoulos told Vance he’d made it “very clear” he believed a president can defy the supreme court.

“No, no, George …” Vance said before the sound was cut.

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Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, was elected senator in 2022 after abandoning his past criticism of Trump, in which he’d said the former president was “America’s Hitler”, “a total fraud” and “a moral disaster”.

The reversal helped to secure Trump’s endorsement and his backing has not wavered since. He has described the legal claims against Trump, specifically E Jean Carroll’s sexual abuse and defamation lawsuit that last week concluded with an $83m judgement against Trump, as “illustrative of what’s gone wrong in this country”.

The Guardian