Trump-backed Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R) clarified his comments after receiving backlash from critics saying he advocated for women staying in abusive marriages to keep children happy.

“I reject the premise of your bogus question,” Vance said in a statement. “As anyone who studies these issues knows: domestic violence has skyrocketed in recent years, and is much higher among non-married couples. That’s the ‘trick’ I reference: that domestic violence would somehow go down if progressives got what they want, when in fact modern society’s war on families has made our domestic violence situation much worse. Any fair person would recognize I was criticizing the progressive frame on this issue, not embracing it.”

“But I can see that you are not a fair person, so rather than answer your loaded and baseless question, let me offer the following: I’m an actual victim of domestic violence,” he added. “In my life, I have seen siblings, wives, daughters, and myself abused by men. It’s disgusting for you to argue that I was defending those men.”

The issue began after a video from last September surfaced on the internet.

Vance had been speaking at Pacifica Christian High School in Newport Beach, California, when he said that people should not “shift spouses like they change their underwear.”

“Maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical,” he added at the time. “But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages,” Vance said. “And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real-time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”

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