The Trump-endorsed Ohio Republican Senate nominee, JD Vance urged married couples to stay together for the sake of the children even if the marriage is violent.
“This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term,’” Vance said while speaking to Pacifica Christian High School in Southern California last September, according to VICE news.
“And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages,” Vance continued. “And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”
Vance cited his grandparents’ marriage as the perfect example for people in unhappy marriages to follow. He said even though they had “an incredibly chaotic marriage in a lot of ways” they never got divorced.
In his best-selling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, Vance describes his grandfather as a “violent drunk” and his grandmother as a “violent nondrunk.” In one instance before he was born Vance writes that his grandmother warned his grandfather that she’d kill him if he ever came home drunk again. When he did, she tried to so just that.
“Mamaw, never one to tell a lie, calmly retrieved a gasoline canister from the garage, poured it all over her husband, lit a match, and dropped it on his chest. When Papaw burst into flames, their 11-year-old daughter jumped into action to put out the fire and save his life,” Vance writes.
Vance’s grandparents’ relationship improved by the time he was a child and was the most stable force in his life as he was growing up, he writes.
Asked by Vice News why the candidate thought “it would be better for children if their parents stayed in violent marriages than if they divorced,” and also if he wanted “local or federal law changed to make it harder for couples to divorce,” Vance told the outlet: “I reject the premise of your bogus question. As anyone who studies these issues knows: Domestic violence has skyrocketed in recent years, and is much higher among non-married couples. That’s the ‘trick’ I reference: that domestic violence would somehow go down if progressives got what they want, when in fact modern society’s war on families has made our domestic violence situation much worse. Any fair person would recognize I was criticizing the progressive frame on this issue, not embracing it. But I can see that you are not a fair person, so rather than answer your loaded and baseless question, let me offer the following: I’m an actual victim of domestic violence. In my life, I have seen siblings, wives, daughters, and myself abused by men. It’s disgusting for you to argue that I was defending those men.”
Vance faced backlash for his comments on social media.
“JD Vance thinks parents should stay in violent marriages ‘for the sake of their kids,’” his Democratic Senate election opponent Tim Ryan tweeted . “That’s not just wrong, it’s unbelievably dangerous,” he said.