Trump and his new VP are at odds over this nasty GOP House primary

Sen. JD Vance at Trump's Manhattan trial in May.
Trump and one of his potential VP picks, Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, have endorsed two different candidates in Arizona's 8th district.Mark Peterson/Getty Images
  • Blake Masters and Abe Hamadeh are in the midst of a nasty primary for a House seat in Arizona.

  • Trump's new VP pick — Sen. JD Vance — has endorsed Masters, while Trump has endorsed Hamadeh.

  • Vance downplayed the disagreement. "Trump knows that Blake's a friend," he said.

On Monday, former President Donald Trump announced Sen. JD Vance as his running mate.

The freshman Ohio senator won out over other candidates including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota.

"I have not gotten a rose, or trinket, or any other gift," Vance told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. "But look, I mean, I have no reason to think that reporting is false. I think that they are narrowing the list down."

Despite his past as a staunch opponent of Trump, Vance was the most ideologically aligned with him of the finalists. He was among the first GOP senators to endorse his 2024 campaign, and he has gone to lengths that few others have gone to defend Trump during his 18 months in the Senate.

However, there is one place where there's daylight between the two men: The Republican primary in Arizona's 8th congressional district, where Abe Hamadeh and Blake Masters are engaged in perhaps the ugliest GOP primary of the cycle.

Vance endorsed Masters, a friend who shares much of the Ohio senator's same "New Right" beliefs, in October, several weeks before Trump endorsed Hamadeh. Vance and Masters both ran for Senate in their respective states in 2022 with the financial backing of right-wing tech billionaire Peter Thiel: Vance won his race, while Masters did not.

Vance said last week that he's spoken with Trump about the race. "We've talked about it," Vance said. "You know, I endorsed Blake very, very early, before Trump got involved in the race. I mean, Trump knows that Blake's a friend."

Abe Hamadeh and Blake Masters.
Abe Hamadeh and Blake Masters.AP Photos/Ross D. Franklin

The campaign has since become ugly, with Masters running ads portraying Hamadeh — an Arab American with a Muslim father — as sympathetic to Islamic terrorists.

"Seems pretty dirty," Vance said with a laugh. "Unusually messy for a Republican primary where you have a reasonably safe seat."

Masters has also featured Trump prominently in his campaign materials and ads, despite not having his endorsement. One recent Masters ad notes that Trump endorsed his Senate campaign, prompted accusations that Masters was trying to mislead voters and reportedly spurring a take-down request for Trump campaign manager Susie Wiles.

"Well, he's trying to win, right?" Vance said when asked what he thought of the way Masters was conducting his campaign. "He's trying to win, and you're going to get pretty aggressive sometimes and try to draw contrasts. He has to draw contrasts, he has to give people a reason to vote for him."

Vance also suggested that he had little issue if Hamadeh, Trump's preferred candidate, ultimately prevails in the July 30 primary.

"I think you got two good candidates running there, and we'll see what happens," Vance said. "They're going to fight out their primary, and I think we're going to get a good congressman out of that."

This story, originally published on July 10, has been updated in light of Vance's selection as former President Donald Trump's

Read the original article on Business Insider