Home » Bearded JD Vance res a contender for Trump VP – by a whisker | Donald Trump

Bearded JD Vance res a contender for Trump VP – by a whisker | Donald Trump

by John Jefferson
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JD Vance is still in contention to be named Donald Trump’s running mate, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee indicated on Wednesday, despite the Ohio senator committing what Trump is reported to consider a heinous faux pas.

According to multiple reports, Vance’s offence does not lie in past decisions to call Trump “America’s Hitler” and Trumpism the “Opioid of the Masses”.

Vance’s mistake, according to a bristling mass of pundits, is to have a beard.

“JD has a beard,” an unnamed “Trump confidant” and Vance supporter told the Bulwark this week. “But Trump is a clean-shaven guy. He just doesn’t like facial hair.”

That judgment seemed to check out, given proliferating reports about Trump’s dislike for beards, as sported by his sons Donald Jr and Eric and senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, and indeed for the moustache sported by John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser.

But on Wednesday, in an interview with the Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade, Trump brushed off the subject.

“Real quick,” Kilmeade said, “on your vice-president candidate, word is that you won’t pick JD Vance because of his facial hair. Is that true?”

Trump said: “No.”

“He looks good,” Trump added. “Looks like a young Abraham Lincoln.”

Trump did not discuss Vance further. But he also said he would announce his running mate – with the Florida senator Marco Rubio and North Dakota governor Doug Burgum both empirically clean-shaven and reportedly in contention – “close to” the Republican convention in Milwaukee next week.

“It used to be picked during the convention,” Trump said, “and it made the convention frankly, more interesting. The pick used to be during the convention – that’s what I’d like to do.”

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s comparison of Vance to “a young Abraham Lincoln” was not strictly accurate.

At 39, Vance is a former “public affairs marine” turned venture capitalist and bestselling author who first resisted Trumpism but then adopted it as he won a Senate seat in 2022, emerging as a fiery rightwing populist voice.

When Lincoln was 39, in 1848, he was a clean-shaven lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, a former Whig congressman ejected from Washington after one term.

Lincoln grew his beard – but not a moustache – when he was well into middle age, at 51, after winning the presidency as a Republican and apparently at the suggestion of a correspondent 40 years his junior.

“I have got four brothers,” Grace Bedell, 11 and of Westfield, New York, told Lincoln in a letter in October 1860, “and a part of them will vote for you anyway, and if you will let your whiskers grow, I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you.

“You would look a great deal better, for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers, and they would tease their husbands to vote for you, and then you would be president.”

Vance may have a similar motive for keeping his beard, as he seeks to project the necessary experience and toughness to appeal to Trump and voters.

“Without the beard, Vance looks like he’s 12,” an unnamed Trump adviser told the Bulwark this week.

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