J.D. Vance, one of the Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R), put his foot in his mouth while trying to attack U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) on Twitter for supporting transgender rights.
Vance is a Yale Law School graduate and self-acclaimed populist who wrote Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir centering on his upbringing in Appalachia, the cultural values of the region, and the financial distress and high levels of poverty that have resulted from the loss of blue-collar jobs like factory work.
The 37-year-old Vance has sought to style himself in the mold of former President Donald Trump by appealing to cultural conservatives and blue-collar white voters. Vance often trolls or criticizes his political opponents on social media, blaming them for all of America's ills in an effort to rally Republican base voters behind his campaign.
As first reported by Queerty, Vance took aim at one of his usual bogeymen, Ocasio-Cortez, for a tweet in which she wrote: “Trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people have always existed and will always exist. People can stay mad about that if they want, or they can grow up.”
Vance responded flippantly, accusing Ocasio-Cortez of making up the term “two-spirit,” a word common among indigenous North Americans that can include individuals who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit, those who are nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or intersex, and those who fulfill a spiritual or ceremonial role within some tribes.
“I'm sorry but what the hell is two-spirit? Would love if progressives just stopped inventing words,” he tweeted.
I’m sorry but what the hell is two-spirit? Would love if progressives just stopped inventing words. https://t.co/QfxM0GRhQX
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) September 8, 2021
But instead of mocking Ocasio-Cortez, many Twitter users weighed in to educate Vance about what the term means — not that there's a dearth of resources explaining the term available via a simple Google search.
“Might want to read up on Native American history, JD,” wrote one user.
Might want to read up on Native American history, JD. https://t.co/JavznbPSxo
— Michael VanDam (@mjvandam) September 8, 2021
“‘Two-spirit' refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine & a feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity,” wrote another. “The term is a translation of the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, two spirits.”
“It's like a portly hedge fund bro with a Yale Law degree who also channels cornpone Archie Bunker,” wrote a third, in a dig at Vance.
“It's a native term for those who are born in one sex but have more masculine or feminine traits. But more importantly who care? Don’t you have any policy to suggest?” asked a fourth.
This isn't Vance's first time attacking people on the cultural left. In July, Vance spoke at a conservative conference in Alexandria, Virginia, during which he opined that the United States should follow the example of Hungary and cater its domestic agenda to two-parent families and promote policies that reward couples for having children.
In that speech, Vance attacked several “rising stars” in the Democratic Party — Vice President Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Ocasio-Cortez, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for not having biological children of their own, saying that they were not “invested” enough in the country's future and suggesting that people with children should have more voting power than those of the “childless left.” (Buttigieg has since adopted two children, and Harris has two step-children.)
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