Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Trump-backed Republican J.D. Vance, who has not previously held elected office, faced each other this week for the first debate in their highly watched U.S. Senate race. Ryan criticized Vance throughout the evening on issues including the latter’s extremism and, more specifically, his support for restrictions on abortion — an issue polling makes clear is prioritized by many voters.
During the debate, Ryan condemned what he referred to as the “extremist movement of which J.D. Vance unfortunately is a part, right? Who says that the president of the United States is intentionally trying to kill people with fentanyl? Who says that the election was stolen? J.D. Vance does. Who runs around with Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, who wants to ban books? You’re running around with Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You’re running around with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who’s the absolute looniest politician in America. This is a dangerous group.”
“I think the problem is when you have guys like J.D. Vance who can’t stand up to anybody,” Ryan added. “Like just a few weeks ago in Youngstown, on the stage, Donald Trump said to J.D. Vance, ‘All you do is kiss my ass to get my support.’ He said that. And that’s bad, because that means J.D. Vance is going to do whatever he wants. Mitch McConnell has given him $40 million; he’s going to do what he wants. And Peter Thiel gave him $15 million; he’s going to do what he wants. And here’s the thing that’s most troubling about this lack of courage is that after Trump took J.D. Vance’s dignity from him on the stage in Youngstown, J.D. Vance got back up on stage and started shaking his hand and taking pictures, saying, ‘Hey, aren’t we having a great time here tonight?'” Ryan also spoke of how Vance’s behavior — and how ready he was to debase himself for just a little more support from the former president — didn’t comport with the kind of behavior with which the Congressman and Senatorial hopeful was familiar among those he knew from younger years.
Ryan also directly addressed Vance’s support for abortion restrictions. “They’ve got to go to Indiana. They’ve got to go to Illinois,” Ryan said Monday, discussing people seeking abortion in Ohio, where post-Roe restrictions on the procedure have been in flux. “And that’s not good enough for J.D. Vance. He supports a national abortion ban, in which he wants women to have to get a passport and go to Canada. We’ve got to have some moderation on this issue. He’s got a very extreme position. J.D., you called rape ‘inconvenient.’ Rape is not inconvenient. It’s a significant tragedy, and he thinks that we should have Ohio state law which says if you’re raped or pregnant through incest that you should be forced to have the baby.” Polling indicates a close race as Election Day nears.
— Pat Dennis (@patdennis) October 10, 2022