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J.D. Vance Cavorted With Romney Resistance During Second Year of Trump Presidency

Vance was a special guest at lavish Romney confab in Park City.
April 29, 2022
J.D. Vance Cavorted With Romney Resistance During Second Year of Trump Presidency
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

J.D. Vance’s sleazy, calculating about-face from anti-Trump Hollywood darling to MAGA starlet has been well documented.

Last week, Vance’s college roommate released a private text message from 2016 in which Vance suggested that Donald Trump might be “America’s Hitler.” In an interview with New York magazine explaining his about-face, Vance said: “Yeah I had one beef six years ago and I have a different view today, this is why it changed,” before detailing the various ways he became impressed by Trump’s prowess.

But there is one problem with the story Vance is selling: As recently as June 2018, Vance was wining and dining with the Republican resistance at Mitt Romney’s E2 confab in Park City.

E2 is a “summit of Romney allies closed to the public,” featuring “wealthy political donors.”

At the time of the summit, Romney, who had called Trump a “fraud” and a “con,” was a candidate for U.S. Senate. Three weeks after E2 he was facing a primary election with opponents who were more in line with the MAGA wing of the party.

Among the other anti-Trump globalists featured at the 2018 confab were Paul Ryan, Larry Hogan, David Brooks, Meg Whitman, Mike Bloomberg, and Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman.

And there was J.D. nibbling on a charcuterie plate with the crisp mountain breeze in his face, hobnobbing with Romney and his friends in the moneyed elite, three weeks before the leader of the RINO Trump resistance’s election to the U.S. Senate.

If Vance had changed his mind on Trump by that point, 19 months into his presidency, the Hillbilly Elegist betrayed no evidence of it in Park City.

One attendee told me that the J.D. Vance who spoke at Mitt Romney’s conference in 2018 was “a thoughtful author with ideas on Republican outreach to the working class and the economy. He would not recognize the J.D. Vance running for Senate.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.