Clash Between Trump, Club for Growth Is Escalating

Influential group calls out ex-president in latest ad in Ohio Senate primary race
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2022 4:46 PM CDT
Ohio Senate Race Splits Trump, Club for Growth
Republican senate candidate JD Vance (left) greets supporters at the Save America Rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Delaware, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Joe Maiorana)

Donald Trump has split with the conservative anti-tax Club for Growth in Ohio's messy GOP Senate primary and the feud is escalating, CNN reports. The group, which supports former state treasurer Josh Mandel, has refused Trump's requests to stop airing an ad attacking Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance, who was endorsed by Trump earlier this month. In response, Trump reportedly sent group president David McIntosh a message via an aide reading, simply, "F*** you." The group then said it would boost spending on the ad, which highlights years-old anti-Trump remarks from Vance.

The club—and Vance—opposed Trump before the 2016 election but did U-turns afterward. In the years after the election, the Club for Growth became a reliable Trump ally and McIntosh gave him advice on GOP races around the country, the New York Times reports. On April 9, the week before the Vance endorsement, Trump praised McIntosh at an event in North Carolina, saying, "He's a winner. He's a fighter. We are undefeated when we work together," per CNN. Sources tell the Times that Donald Trump Jr., who spent months persuading his father to endorse Vance, is now planning to pressure the club to remove McIntosh as president.

An ad for the Club for Growth Wednesday targets Trump himself as well as Vance, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. It highlights Trump's support of Mitt Romney in 2012 and features a man saying, "Look, I love Trump, but he's getting it wrong with JD Vance." Vance issued a statement Wednesday attacking Mandel. "Having been rejected by Trump after begging for his endorsement, Mandel has returned to his roots: with millions of dollars from the pro-China Club for Growth propping up his failing campaign," Vance said. "There is a war for the soul of the Republican Party, and I’m proud to be on the side of President Trump." (More Election 2022 stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.