Trump confused the names of candidates in a closely contested GOP Senate primary that's 2 days away — one of whom he endorsed last month

JD Vance; Donald Trump; Josh Mandel
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  • Trump endorsed JD Vance for Senate in Ohio last month in a controversial decision.

  • At a rally Sunday he said he endorsed "JD Mandel," mixing Vance's name with his opponent's, Josh Mandel.

  • The closely contested GOP Senate primary in Ohio is set for May 3.

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to mix up the names of two candidates running for Senate in Ohio in a closely contested GOP primary set for May 3.

Trump, speaking during a rally in Nebraska, combined the names of Josh Mandel and JD Vance.

"We've endorsed Dr. Oz. We've endorsed JP, right? JD Mandel, and he's doing great. They're all doing good," Trump said.

A few moments later as Trump continued to talk about his endorsements he said: "I think Vance is doing well."

Prior to Trump's "JD Mandel" comment, the former president said he "aced" a cognitive test, a claim he has repeated recently, and said President Joe Biden should take one.

Trump endorsed Vance last month and appeared with him at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, last weekend.

During the rally, Trump acknowledged that Vance had said bad things about him in the past but said he has "put that aside."

"He's a guy that said some bad shit about me. He did. He did. But you know what? Every one of the others did also. In fact if I went by that standard I don't think I would have ever endorsed anybody in the country," Trump said.

He added Vance was "tough" and "smart" and had the best chance of winning the Senate seat.

Trump's endorsement of Vance was controversial. The "Hillbilly Elegy" author and venture capitalist was a vocal critic of Trump during the 2016 election before becoming a fierce supporter.

Dozens of GOP officials in Ohio sent a letter to Trump, obtained by Politico, urging him against backing Vance. They wrote that endorsing him would cut against "your support and legacy in Ohio" and would "only serve to confuse or upset voters."

Trump endorsed Vance the following day.

"With J.D. Vance, Ohio gets both brains and brawn," Trump said in a statement, adding: "He is our best chance for victory in what could be a very tough race."

Mandel, a former Ohio State Treasurer, was vying for an endorsement from Trump, even putting out ads that described himself as "pro-God, pro-gun, pro-Trump."

Backers of Mandel have also gone after Vance. Club for Growth, a PAC that's supporting Mandel, has put out ads attacking Vance's past critical comments of Trump.

Read the original article on Business Insider