Ron Howard claims he was ‘surprised’ to see J.D. Vance embrace Trump, but skeptics aren’t buying it

While politics make for strange bedfellows, there can be no denying the impact Donald Trump has on the Republican Party — particularly in the heartland of America, aka flyover country for the left, where traditional values still reign supreme.

All of which may help explain an observation made by Hollywood director Ron Howard, who was asked by Variety about Senator-elect J.D. Vance’s relationship with Trump.

Howard, who directed Vance’s biopic “Hillbilly Elegy,” said he was “surprised” to see the Ohio Republican’s affinity for the former president — Howard got to know Vance while filming the movie about his life of poverty as the son of a drug-addicted single mother.

“To be honest, I was surprised,” Howard said of the relationship with Trump, adding that they did not really talk politics much but that Vance said he “didn’t care for Trump.”

“When I was getting to know J.D., we didn’t talk politics because I wasn’t interested in that about his life,” Howard told Variety. “I was interested in his childhood and navigating the particulars of his family and his culture so that’s what we focused on in our conversation. To me, he struck me as a very moderate center-right kind of guy.”

“He didn’t like him at all, as he tweeted,” he said. “I haven’t talked to him in a couple of years. I hope now that he’s got the job that’ll apply what I think his good common sense to the questions that will come before him.”

Howard also said he was somewhat surprised that Vance mounted a campaign so soon, saying he didn’t express much interest in running for office when working on the 2020 film.

“He apparently wasn’t interested in running for office, but I think his interest was renewed,” the director said. “At the time I was working with him he was concentrating on starting his family and he was becoming a businessman and I asked him about it, he said, ‘Maybe somebody down the road.’ Someday came a little sooner than any of us expected.”

Skeptics might suggest that Howard is trying to get out in front of any coming criticism that he helped set the stage for Vance’s political success as a Republican. Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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