Former President Trump stumped in favor of Ohio Republican Senate candidate JD Vance on Saturday, though he acknowledged during his rally that Vance has “spoken badly at me.”

“He’s a guy who said some bad things about me, he said it,” Trump said. “But you know what? Everyone else did too.”

“[In] In fact, I went by that standard, I don’t think I would have ever endorsed anyone in the country… They all said wrong, but they all came back,” the former president continued. “But I’ll tell you he was tough…but the others were tough and they all, a lot of them, said really mean things. And I finally put that aside.”

Vance admitted during the rally: “I wasn’t always nice.”

“The president is right. I was not always nice, but the simple fact is that he is the best president of my life and he exposed the corruption in this country like no one else,” he said.

The “Hillbilly Elegy” author has come under fire from super PAC and others for previous comments he made against Trump, including saying, “I’m a guy who never Trump. I never liked it.

He has also been criticized for previously saying that he “might have to hold my nose and vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Vance has already apologized for his previous comments, including during a Fox News interview in July 2021.

“Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump in 2016,” Vance said at the time. “And I ask people not to judge me for what I said in 2016, because I’ve been very open about saying those critical things and I regret it, and I regret that I was wrong about the guy. I think he was a good president, I think he made a lot of good decisions for the people and I think he got a lot of criticism.”

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More than 30 Ohio Republican leaders wrote to Trump earlier this month urging him not to endorse Vance. However, those appeals ultimately did not dissuade the former president from endorsing the “Hillbilly Elegy” author; Trump announced his endorsement of Vance last week.

During the rally, Trump touted Vance’s Yale law credentials and experience as a former Marine.

“He is a fearless MAGA fighter. He fights like crazy, he loves Ohio and frankly he is a great Buckeye,” Trump said.

Trump’s endorsement of Vance, who came late in the Ohio Senate race and just weeks away from the May 3 primary, is a major asset for Ohio’s GOP nominee given Trump’s clout within the GOP.

However, Vance, who trailed his rivals in the primary before receiving Trump’s endorsement, only has a few weeks to take advantage of that endorsement.

Unlike Trump’s comments about Vance, who has since changed course after his earlier criticism of Trump, the former president has not refrained from going after other lawmakers and politicians, many of whom have also criticized him.

He called several by name, including “crying.”Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois); “little” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.); Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whom she called a “terrible senator”; the “liar” governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp (R); and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

One name not mentioned during his speech, however, was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who made headlines this week after a report by the New York Times and Audio recordings broadcast by MSNBC and CNN indicated that he planned to urge the then-president in the days after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

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“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will happen, and it would be my recommendation that you resign. I mean, that would be my opinion, but I don’t think he would accept it. But I don’t know,” McCarthy says in audio broadcast on MSNBC this week of a Jan. 10 House leadership call he was on.

Both McCarthy and Trump said Friday that their relationship was still intact after the audio was released. The California Republican said he had spoken to the former president twice that day and called the call “exaggerated.”

“No, I never asked the president to resign, I never thought he should resign,” McCarthy also stated.

“He made a call. I heard the call. I didn’t like the call,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday, referring to McCarthy. “But almost immediately, as you know, because he came here and we took a picture right there, you know, the support was very strong.”

Trump said of McCarthy and others who previously criticized him but later backed him up: “They realized they were wrong and they stood by me,” telling the Journal: “I think it’s all a huge compliment, frankly.”

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