When you live with someone, like a college roommate, you really get to know them. That's why Josh McLaurin, who shared a home with Trump-endorsed Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance during their Yale Law School days, is solidly credible in his estimation of Vance as the "most dangerous candidate."
McLaurin, now a Democratic state representative in Georgia, told The Daily Beast that Vance knows exactly what he’s doing by now embracing the Donald Trump MAGA movement that he once disparaged.
“It’s almost like his whole reason for being is to own the libs, disrupt the normal media environment, and prove that the opposition is worse somehow [than] the Republican Party—or evil on its own,” McLaurin said in an interview.
On Monday, he tweeted Vance’s comments from a 2016 Facebook chat, writing, "The public deserves to know the magnitude of this guy’s bad faith."
The screenshot below is @JDVance1\u2019s unfiltered explanation from 2016 of the breakdown in Republican politics that he now personally is trying to exploit.\n\nThe \u201cAmerica\u2019s Hitler\u201d bit is at the end.\n\nThe public deserves to know the magnitude of this guy\u2019s bad faith.pic.twitter.com/79Z0qSWFWF— Josh McLaurin (@Josh McLaurin) 1650299806
In the messages, Vance also called Trump - who has endorsed his candidacy - a “cynical asshole like Nixon” and “America’s Hitler.” Trump’s rise, he said, was “the fruit of the party’s collective neglect,” and the GOP “has only itself to blame.”
“We are, whether we like it or not, the party of lower-income, lower-education white people, and I have been saying for a long time that we need to offer those people SOMETHING,” Vance wrote, because if they don’t, “a demagogue would.”
In the Daily Beast interview, McLaurin "painted Vance as ambitious and talented, but also a transactional and deeply numbed cynic who shows little to no shame about the things he will say, do, and forfeit in order to achieve power.
“And as it became clear to me that that’s what he was trying to do, I started to realize that he was the most dangerous candidate. And it took Trump endorsing him and him giving a full-throated acceptance of that endorsement to sort of seal the deal for me and make me choose to highlight the hypocrisy,” McLaurin said.
According to McLaurin, Vance has shifted his focus from policy and problem-solving to culture war bait. As a result, he said, Vance has assumed the image of the very person he had not long ago compared to Adolf Hitler.