Republican VP Hopeful JD Vance Shows Up at Court for Trump

A group of GOP elected officials joined Mr. Vance to express support for President Trump outside the courthouse.
Republican VP Hopeful JD Vance Shows Up at Court for Trump
Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) looks on as former President Donald Trump speaks to the media at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 13, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Chase Smith

Republican Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, seen as a potential pick to be former President Donald Trump’s 2024 vice presidential running mate, appeared alongside President Trump in a Manhattan court on Monday during his “hush money” trial.

Mr. Vance was seen entering the courthouse with the former president on Monday, as part of his entourage, while President Trump’s former attorney-turned-enemy, Michael Cohen, took the stand to testify.

The race for the vice presidential spot has heated up in recent weeks, as Mr. Vance and others have been portrayed as auditioning for the spot after appearing at a recent event at President Trump’s home and club Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

In addition to Mr. Vance, names such as Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Trump cabinet member Dr. Ben Carson, and former Democrat congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, now an Independent, have been mentioned.

Later this week, Mr. Vance is also expected to join President Trump on the campaign trail for a fundraiser in Cincinnati.

Also joining Mr. Vance on Monday at the courthouse were Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Republicans Speak Outside Court

The GOP elected officials supporting President Trump in court on Monday spoke in a press conference as court recessed for lunch.

Mr. Vance spoke briefly, stating “to all the American voters and American people who are watching this, the one opportunity you get to speak up against this sham prosecution and to say the American people elect their president, not corrupt DNC prosecutors, is to vote for Donald Trump in November.”

Mr. Tuberville spoke in more detail, calling the courtroom “depressing” and stating the repeated use of “Mr. Trump” opposed to “President Trump” was disrespectful.

“That courtroom is depressing. This is New York City—the icon of our country—and we got a courtroom that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever been in,” Mr. Tuberville said outside the courthouse Monday. “Mental anguish is trying to be pushed on the Republican candidate for the President of the United States this year. That’s all this is.”

Mr. Tuberville continued, stating he was disappointed in the courtroom antics of District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who was treating the courtroom like “it is his Super Bowl.”

“I’m glad to stand by President Trump,” Mr. Tuberville added. “I’m a friend of his. I’m here more as a friend than backing him as a candidate for president. I’m sitting there listening to a guy on the stand that they had to get out of house arrest because he lied in another court, to testify in this court. He’s a convicted felon.”

Referring to Mr. Cohen, Mr. Tuberville said he was a “serial liar” and that there should be “no reason that anybody should listen to” him.

“But, at the end of the day, the Democrats are trying to beat President Trump in the jury box because they can’t beat him at the ballot box,” Alabama’s senator added. “That’s end of story. So, I’m from the South. I’m here today to represent and to pay my respects to what President Trump is going through. It’s a tough time for him, but you saw what happened this weekend. He’s got more support than ever because of what they’re putting him through in that courtroom.”

Ms. Malliotakis said that Mr. Bragg should focus on the actual crime occurring on the streets of New York City, of which she represents Staten Island and Brooklyn.

“The case is called the people of the state of New York versus Donald J. Trump, but the people of the state of New York know that this is a sham trial,” Ms. Malliotakis added. “The people of America know that it is a sham trial based on a star witness that is a convicted, disbarred perjurer, who lied to Congress multiple times.”

“We have drug smugglers that are poisoning our children,“ she added. ”We have illegal immigrant gang members wreaking havoc in our city. We see career criminals being released over and over again. And we see a district attorney that reduces or drops charges against the criminals who are plaguing New York. … And so it’s truly outrageous that this is how District Attorney Alvin Bragg is choosing to use New Yorkers’ tax dollars wasting precious courtroom time on this sham trial.”

Ms. Bird said she traveled from Iowa to show her strong support for President Trump.

“He won our caucuses, the first-in-the-nation caucuses, by more than any other candidate ever has,” Ms. Bird said. “And he will do a great job. We need him back as our president leading our country.”

Ms. Bird added that as a former prosecutor, the things she saw in the Manhattan courthouse were a “travesty.”

“Politics has no place in a court of law,” she said. “Politics should be out on the campaign trail. But instead, because of these charges that are a scam and a sham, our President Trump is tied up in court when he should be out on the campaign trail.”

Mr. Marshall said he had never seen in his career “a greater perversion of the criminal justice system.”

“We had more questions about Michael Cohen’s feelings than we did connecting him to any criminal offense,” Mr. Marshall said, noting the various other jurisdictions that did not bring similar charges against President Trump when given the chance prior to Mr. Bragg doing so.

“There is no basis for this crime,” Mr. Marshall added. “This is simply an effort to keep Donald Trump in New York City, so he can’t go out and speak to the people of this country about why he should be reelected. This president, I’ve seen nothing here that has demonstrated what I didn’t know when I walked in and that is this is not an effective use of the resources of this city.”

Vance Calls Trial a Distraction

Mr. Vance spoke about the trial he witnessed in person on Monday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, May 12.

“The only thing that Alvin Bragg, the New York prosecutors team thinks Donald Trump did wrong, is that he ran for President 2024 and he looks to be on the cusp of victory,” Mr. Vance told CNN’s Dana Bash. “That is the only thing that this is ultimately about. If you look at the underlying argument of the case, they can’t even identify what it is that Donald Trump did. They said he committed a paperwork violation in the service of a crime, but they won’t even specify the crime that he allegedly committed.”

Mr. Vance continued, saying that the attacks on President Trump were “not about the law” and “not about justice,” rather a distraction from the “failed record” of President Joe Biden.

“So what they’re doing is putting these trials out there and saying, focus on this, not on the fact that the world is on fire,” Mr. Vance added.

He also posted on social media platform X from the courthouse on Monday, saying the “dingy court house” prevented President Trump’s supporters from getting “too close” and his friends were also prevented from “standing too close to him.”

“The president is expected to sit here for six weeks to listen to the Michael Cohens of the world,” Mr. Vance said in a post. “I’m now convinced the main goal of this trial is psychological torture. But Trump is in great spirits.”

Mr. Vance also said that media reports that President Trump appeared like he was falling asleep in court was an “absurd narrative.”

“I’m 39 years old and I’ve been here,” Mr. Vance wrote. “Cohen can’t remember how old his son is or how old he was when he started to work for Trump but I’m sure he remembers extremely small details from years ago! Michael Cohen admitting he secretly recorded his employer. Just totally normal conduct, right? The best part is he said he did it only once and only for Trump’s benefit. A standup guy!”

Mr. Vance has praised the former president in other television interviews this year, telling ABC News in February that if he had been his vice president in President Trump’s administration, he would have done the opposite of then-Vice President Mike Pence and considered alternate slates of electors before certifying the 2020 election.

In his Sunday interview on CNN, he also defended President Trump’s direct communication style, particularly regarding the former president’s comments about the shame Jewish Biden voters should feel.

“We have to remember, Donald Trump is very direct here and he hasn’t singled out Jewish Americans,” Mr. Vance said. “He singled out a lot of people for voting for Joe Biden.”

Chase is an award-winning journalist. He covers national news for The Epoch Times and is based out of Tennessee. For news tips, send Chase an email at [email protected] or connect with him on X.