A Cleveland, Ohio primary debate got exceptionally fiery on Friday night when America First candidate Josh Mandel threatened to go toe-to-toe with opponent Mike Gibbons. Watch:
Mandel, a Marine Corps veteran, accused Gibbons of profiting off Chinese stocks while working as an investment banker. J.D. Vance, Jane Timken and Matt Dolan were also participating in the debate.
Mandel accused Gibbons of profiting on ‘Chinese petro’ and Shanghai Shenda.
“You made millions off it, sir,” Mandel said. Gibbons refuted that he personally had bought the stocks.
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“You’ve never been in the private sector in your entire life,” Gibbons fired back.
“I have worked, sir,” Mandel shouted and stood up. “Two tours in Iraq… Two tours in Iraq… Don’t tell me I haven’t worked.”
Mandel and Gibbons then squared off face to face.
“You don’t know squat,” Gibbons said. “You back off.”
“You’re dealing with the wrong guy,” he said. “You watch what happens, pussy. You watch what happens.”
Mandel brags that he is not going to Washington to “make friends.” You could call that a credible boast after Friday night.
J.D. Vance commented on the exchange during the debate. Also a Marine Corps veteran, Vance criticized Mandel’s remark about his service.
“I think the way you used the US Marine Corps, Josh, is disgraceful,” Vance said, eliciting applause from the audience.
“This guy wants to be a US Senator, he’s up here: ‘Hold me back! Hold me back! I got two tours in the Marine Corps.’ What a joke,” he added.
The Hill notes that Mike Gibbons has shot to the head of the race due in part to a massive advertising blitz.
“Gibbons had been stuck in the primary’s middle tier, but three consecutive polls in recent weeks showed him jumping over competitors like former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance and former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken for the lead,” the Hill said.
“A February poll from The Hill and Emerson College showed Gibbons with a 7-point lead; a March survey from a pro-Vance super PAC had Gibbons up 4 points; and a Fox News poll last week showed Gibbons with a 2-point edge.”