GOP Candidate JD Vance Accuses Walmart of “Slave Labor” But Invests in Its Stock

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance has accused Walmart of using “slave labor” to make cheap products that undermine American jobs. However, his most recent financial disclosure shows that he has at least $50,000 worth of Walmart stock.

Vance, who first made a fortune in venture capital before he wrote the best-selling book Hillbilly ElegyLast month, he submitted his personal financial disclosure. missingThe original filing deadline. It states that he has between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of Walmart stock. (These disclosure forms list ranges rather than exact amounts.

Vance also participated in a 2017 “fireside chat” with Walmart executive Daniel Eckert to discuss business issues as well as the “populist movement” that “propelled Donald Trump into the presidency.”

Now that he is seeking the Republican nomination for an open Ohio Senate seat — and hoping to land former President Donald Trump’s endorsement — Vance has taken to criticizing the company and its reliance on China, which has become a popular GOP target.

During an event in Dover, Ohio, in October, Vance blamed politicians from both parties for shipping “a lot of our manufacturing base off to China.”

“The thought was we get a lot of cheap stuff in return,” he said. “They make it more cheaply because they were relying on slave labor. So maybe you go to Walmart and things don’t cost as much. But in the process, a lot of middle-class people lost those good jobs that enabled them to support them.”

Vance reiterated his belief in Walmart’s use of slave labor during a conversation with Buck Sexton, a conservative commentator. He accused Walmart of using diversity and inclusion programs as distractions from the issue.

“Who cares if you are employing Chinese slaves? Who cares if you are benefiting from the Communist Chinese Party’s slave labor?” he said. “So long as you are properly woke, so long as you teach diversity, equity and inclusion at your workplace, you won’t face any scrutiny, you won’t face any consequences.”

Walmart has faced allegationsIt has used slave labor for many years. According to the company, it has taken stepsto eliminate forced labor and ensure compliance by responsible sourcing policies.

During appearance in Youngstown last month, Vance argued that a “bunch of idiot leaders” decided to ship middle-class American jobs to China and “countries that hate us” in return for “a lot of cheap plastic garbage at Walmart.”

Since he announced his candidacy for Ohio in July, this has been his campaign theme. op-ed that American leaders had made the indefensible choice that Americans should “be able to buy cheaper consumer goods at Walmart instead of having access to a good job.”

He has a point on that issue. An analysis by the progressive Economic Policy Institute found that Walmart’s outsourcing to companies in China may have eliminated 400,000 jobs between 2001 and 2013. But in none of his campaign speeches or appearances has Vance disclosed that he is an investor in the company he accuses of killing American jobs and relying on “slave labor.” A spokesman for Vance did not respond to questions from Salon.

“J.D. Vance keeps proving that he’s an untrustworthy fraud,” said Brad Bainum, a spokesperson for the Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century.

Vance has also been accused of hypocrisy for his actions campaign against Big Tech,He accused them of censoring conservatives. He spent years investing in technology startups at Narya, his venture capital firm, and before that at Mithril Capital. Mithril Capital was a Silicon Valley venture Capital firm co-founded with Peter Thiel, a member of the Facebook board.

Vance was also on the campaign trail. tied himself in knotsAfter repeatedly attacking the former president over the years, Vance tried to reposition his self as a pro Trump Republican before deciding to run for office. Vance in 2016. said he could not “stomach Trump” and said his policy proposals “range from immoral to absurd.” He now says he has had a change of heart and has ventured on something of an apology tour, even tagging along with Thiel — a major Trump donor who has sunk $10 million in Vance’s campaign — on a trip to Mar-a-Lago seeking an audience with Trump.

Vance’s campaign is also backed by the billionaire investors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who helped fund Trump’s 2016 campaign and financially backed many of the players involved in stoking Trump’s election lies and the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

The polling has been very limited in the Ohio Republican primary race. This includes Josh Mandel, former Treasurer of Ohio. desperately triedJane Timken, a top Trump donor, was able to out-Trump Vance. Vance has always been behind Mandel in polls, despite having the Thiel-funded super PAC backing his campaign. touted a recent pollHe is closing the gap.

“That’s why you raise money — so you can run a real campaign and do messaging,” Ohio Republican strategist Doug Preisse told Salon earlier this year about the Thiel and Mercer money flowing into the former never-Trumper’s campaign. “Sometimes you gotta try to put the shit back in the horse, which is what he’s probably going to have to spend some money doing.”