JD Vance on going to Trump trial: ‘I was there to support a friend’

Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) said in a Tuesday interview that he attended the hush money criminal trial against former President Trump on Monday to be a “friendly face in the courtroom” for the presumptive GOP nominee for president.

“I mean, look, I was there to support a friend,” Vance, who is seen as a potential running mate for Trump this fall, said on Fox News’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

“Aside from the political implications of this trial, and we’ll certainly get to that, I think this is a very depressing way to spend five, six weeks of your life when you know that you’re innocent, as Donald Trump knows that he is,” he continued.

“Recognizing that sometimes it’s a little bit lonely to sit up there by yourself, I offered to come in and maybe just be a friendly face in the courtroom. And that’s all I wanted to do,” Vance said.

“And that’s what I think you see so many people want to come and show their support for the president, because they actually like what he stands for. They think that this trial is pathetic. And they want to show some support to a friend. And I think that’s a good thing and an admirable thing. That’s certainly what I wanted to do up there,” Vance added.

Vance was among the Republican allies who flocked to New York this week to show support for the former president.

On Monday, Trump’s entourage included Vance, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. The three lawmakers were all seated alongside one another in the second row of the gallery, about 10 feet behind the former president.

On Tuesday, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) attended the trial, along with Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) and Cory Mills (R-Fla.).

Former GOP candidates for president Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum also attended the trial.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection to reimbursements made to Cohen, who made a $130,000 payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to stay quiet ahead of the 2016 election about her alleged affair with Trump from a decade prior. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has denied the affair.

Trump is also under a gag order that bars him from criticizing the witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court staff or the judge’s family. It does not bar him from talking about the judge overseeing the case or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

Trump’s allies, however, are under no such restrictions. Vance and other Republicans have railed against the gag order and taken aim at witnesses and the judge’s daughter while speaking outside the Manhattan courtroom this week.

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