According to a new book, former Ohio State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel admitted that his campaign talking points were meant to placate the supporters of former President Donald Trump, all while telling establishment Republicans in Washington that he did believe not his own messaging.

A passage from “This Will Not Pass” by author Jonathan Martin says the following:

Mandel, acknowledged to Republicans in Washington that he was parroting absurd rhetoric in the primary campaign out of a desire to court Trump and his supporters — but that was simply what he believed it would take to win.”

In fact even as he publicly mimicked Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, Mandel would privately reach out to [Sen. Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell’s top lieutenants to alert them each time one of his top rivals, J.D. Vance, criticized Washington Republicans — effectively trying to have it both ways with Trump and the GOP leaders he derided.

Donald Trump Jr., who endorsed Mandel’s opponent J.D. Vance highlighted the passage from the book on his Twitter page.

“Mandel serves Mitch McConnell and is owned by the GOP establishment. MAGA can not trust him – Don’t be fooled by this RINO fraud!!!” he said.

Donald Trump Jr.’s father, Donald Trump, has also endorsed Vance in what is a hotly-contested Republican U.S. Senate primary in the country.

Vance’s campaign responded with a scathing statement Friday.

“Conservatives across Ohio can now clearly see the real Josh Mandel: A phony, fraud and sell-out, who claims to be ‘anti-establishment’ in public, but throws President Trump and the entire MAGA movement under the bus to the establishment behind closed doors,” Vance’s Press Secretary Taylor Van Kirk said. “While JD Vance was courageously criticizing GOP leadership and holding them to account for their failures, Mandel was quite literally kissing the ring and bending the knee to the RINO establishment. Josh is a cowardly political chameleon who simply cannot be trusted to put America First.”

Earlier this week, the Club For Growth, which backs Mandel, released an ad attacking Trump for endorsements of certain Republican candidates in the past, suggesting that he made a mistake in endorsing Vance, too, and that he is the real pro-Trump candidate in the race.

The latest polling in the primary race shows Vance with a slight edge over Mandel, and several other candidates well behind. The primary election will be held Tuesday.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Donald Trump, Jr.” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Josh Mandel” by Josh Mandel. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol Building” by GPA Photo Archive.