J.D. Vance's Day

Morning til night with America's hillbilly venture capitalist

© 2017 New America, used under a Creative Commons license


5:30 am Walk dogs Casper and Pippin.

6:00 am Pilates in the exercise room, followed by a quick sauna and shower.

6:45 am Breakfast with wife by the pool house.

7:30 am Call with Peter Thiel about their Narya Capital Management investment firm and Vance’s Ohio Senate run. Thiel tells him the $10 million he has donated to his campaign so far is “just a taste.” As if on cue, a little boy dressed like a hillbilly appears at the pool house and hands Vance a gunny sack containing $250,000 in cash. “Don’t worry about the serial numbers,” says Thiel.

8:00 am Quick hit on CNBC to deplore violence in Minnesota, talk about how nothing like that ever happened back in Appalachia, where “men could work out their differences over a chaw and some 'shine.”

8:30 am Call with Rebekah Mercer, who compliments Vance on his very favorable recent press in the Washington Post (“Run for Office, J.D. Vance”) and the Chicago Tribune (“J.D. Vance seeks to build bridges, maybe even among Republicans”). Mercer hints her billionaire family will step up funding to Vance’s campaign, particularly if he can spend the weekend at Robert Mercer’s Owl’s Nest manor in Long Island and meet more interested donors. “You won’t even have to wear overalls and chew on a straw,” laughs Mercer.

10:00 am Flight on Thiel’s private jet to Washington. Work on upcoming speech, “The Humility of the Hills.”

Noon Lunch meeting with Senator Josh Hawley to discuss policy. Both agree on a hard line against higher taxes except for “woke” tech businesses, stripping Major League Baseball of its anti-trust exemption for moving the All-Star Game from Georgia, tough federal laws against Black Lives Matter protests and the teaching of critical race theory in colleges and universities, and the erection of a statue commemorating the victims of Cancel Culture; Vance thinks he can get Nick Sandmann for the dedication. Hawley asks Vance if he will make a statement calling for leniency for the Capitol Hill insurrectionists; Vance says it’s too dangerous for him politically at the moment. “That’s what I told them myself,” says Hawley. Both men laugh heartily.

2:00 pm Visit to the Immaculate Conception Church on K Street to take confession; press photographers shoot Vance going in and out of the church. Vance gives brief statement saying his people growing up were not Catholics, and this might be why they had so much trouble with drugs; he knew Mee-maw would approve, etc. In the Escalade Vance gets congratulatory calls from Rod Dreher and Ross Douthat, who promise columns on his “Hillbilly Catholicism.”

2:30 pm Quick nap, shower at a suite in the Trump International Hotel arranged by Peter Thiel.

4:30 pm Happy hour reception at the rooftop bar of the Graham Georgetown sponsored by the Eagle Forum. Vance chats with Senator Rob Portman and chats with high rollers, declines to be photographed wearing a “Trans Pervert in Dress” button even when the pun is explained to him, but assures Forum members he’s on their side. “I know you are,” says one guest. “No he-shes in the holler, right?”

6:30 pm Flight on Thiel’s private jet to Cincinnati. Vance reviews plans for renovation of his midcentury Gothic Revival home and composes some notes for his Yale class reunion.

8:15 pm Quick hit on Tucker Carlson, deploring Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. “Back in Appalachia, you weren’t respected if you backed down from a fight,” says Vance.

8:45 pm Dinner in the carriage house with wife. Quick call from Thiel, who suggests he start dropping his g’s. “You don’t want people to think you’re just another rich prick.” Before dozing off, Vance tries to figure out what Thiel meant by that; had people really become so cynical?