Flynn campaigning for Mandel calls Trump’s endorsement of Vance ‘huge mistake’

Former president Donald Trump acted on bad advice when he endorsed J.D. Vance over Josh Mandel in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio, according to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

“I think he made a huge mistake,” Flynn said Thursday in an interview before he appeared with Mandel at a campaign rally at Victory Christian Church. “He’s got people around him that are advising him and I think they advised him poorly.”

Trump endorsed Vance, an author and businessman from Cincinnati, on Saturday. Mandel supporter Rob Scott, who was Trump’s 2016 campaign state director and is Kettering clerk of courts, said he and others asked Trump to reconsider his endorsement of Vance but he is doubtful that Trump will reverse himself.

Vance’s campaign spokesperson, Taylor Van Kirk, initially declined comment but on Friday released a statement from Donald Trump Jr., which said, “The MAGA Movement is strongly united behind my father’s endorsement of J.D. Vance, which you can see by the surge he’s seen in the polls since the endorsement.”

Flynn, who is Trump’s former national security adviser, said he endorsed Mandel because of his leadership skills.

“Warrior spirit. Fighter. He’s exactly what we need in our political life in our country right now,” Flynn said. “The United States of America is at risk once again and in this case domestically.”

Speaking before a group of about 80 people Flynn denounced the “globalist elite” and said the nation is in a spiritual domestic battle.

“This is not the 11th hour. This is the last couple of seconds of the 12th hour,” Flynn said. “If you do not get involved in this country we are not going to have this country.”

Mandel also talked about the danger he believes the country faces, saying people need to double-down on Judeo-Christian values and that “socialists” are coming for people’s religion, free speech and guns.

Mandel, a former Ohio state treasurer, said he stood up to “soft” Republicans when he held state office, and he said both Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. are corrupt.

“I think that the world is laughing at us,” Mandel said in an interview before his speech.

Jeanette Kantzer of Beavercreek attended the rally and said Mandel is “right on.”

“He’s a very strong candidate and loves this country and wants what is best for America. And he’s not part of the elite culture in Washington D.C.,” Kantzer said. “He’s somebody that we need that is going to fight for Americans to get our country back.”

Mandel and Vance are among seven Republican candidates running in the May 3 primary. The others are: state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls; businessman Mike Gibbons of Fairview Park; businessman Neil Patel of Westerville; businessman Mark Pukita of Dublin and former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken of Canton.

Flynn resigned from the Trump administration after being accused of lying about conversations he had with Russia’s then-U.S. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying about his contacts with Kislyak and later sought to withdraw his plea. Trump’s Justice Department declined to pursue the case, and Trump pardoned Flynn in late 2020.

“He’s the people’s general,” Mandel said of Flynn. “When you look at the radical left and deep state how they went after Trump and they went after him the same way. As Trump said, they were coming after all of us. And in order to get to us they had to go through Trump and General Flynn and most people would’ve cowered, would’ve crumbled, but General Flynn fought.”

Like Mandel, Flynn contends, without evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. Among the seven GOP candidates, only Dolan says Democrat Joe Biden was the legitimate winner.

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Multiple investigations, election audits and court rulings nationwide, along with Trump’s then-Attorney General William Barr, found no evidence of widespread fraud or election problems. Congress certified Biden’s win hours after Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, assaulted the U.S. Capitol and fought police in an effort to stop it.

“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” according to a statement issued Nov. 12, 2020, by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Flynn said the media is hiding the truth about what he says was a fraudulent election.

“There’s no more baseless conspiracy theories here. This was outrageous theft,” Flynn said, citing debunked allegations about election fraud in Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, all states won by Biden.

Mandel wants the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack abolished and said he would replace it with a commission to investigate the 2020 presidential election.

In March Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

“Josh Mandel is an unhinged extremist who is proudly campaigning with an insurrectionist. That should tell Ohioans everything they need to know about him,” said Michael Beyer, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.

On Nov. 8 the winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic Party primary to fill seat now held by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is retiring.

The Democratic primary candidates for U.S. Senate are: attorney Morgan Harper of Columbus; businesswoman Traci “TJ” Johnson of Hilliard; and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp. in Trumbull County.

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