Demonstrators dressed as “Unite the Right” rally-goers with tiki torches stand on a sidewalk as Republican candidate for governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin arrives on his bus for a campaign event in Charlottesville, Va., October 29, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The Lincoln Project claimed credit for organizing a white supremacist stunt in front of Glenn Youngkin’s campaign bus on Friday, but not before several staffers from the opposing campaign used the incident to bash the Republican candidate for Virginia governor.
The anti-Trump and anti-Republican organization said it sent the tiki torch–wielding group to remind Virginia voters of the white-nationalist march that took place in Charlottesville in 2017 and “the Republican party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it.”
Despite many conservatives’ immediately questioning the validity of the demonstration, several McAuliffe staffers boosted news of the incident as if it were real, including aide Jen Goodman, who called it “disgusting and disqualifying” for Youngkin.
McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich used it as an opportunity to say “this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are.”
For posterity, in case these come down later, two McAuliffe campaign communications flacks were pushing this as if it was a real thing: pic.twitter.com/kNjZYAXDQu
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 29, 2021
Charlie Olaf, McAuliffe’s social-media manager, wrote: “Disgusting reference to the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville.”
no no this wasn’t planned or anything 😂 pic.twitter.com/7xCNOpTg51
— LB (@beyondreasdoubt) October 29, 2021
MSNBC contributor Glenn Kirschner condemned the “blatant display of racism, hatred and intolerance,” urging Virginians to vote for McAuliffe, who represents a “kind, welcoming, diverse Virginia.”
30-year fed prosecutor and MSNBC contributor @glennkirschner2 didn’t even raise an eyebrow when five random young people including a Black guy turn up with CHARLOTTESVILLE style tiki torches at Youngkin’s bus.
You didn’t think “that’s weird”?
These are the media “experts.” pic.twitter.com/pPZetjg2IL
— Jack Buckby (@jackbuckby) October 29, 2021
Democratic strategist Max Burns claimed Youngkin’s campaign “counts white supremacists among its most enthusiastic supporters.”
Glenn Youngkin may pretend to be reasonable, but there’s nothing reasonable about a campaign that counts white supremacists among its most enthusiastic supporters. https://t.co/rmBpY2UtzC
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) October 29, 2021
After the Lincoln Project came forward, Burns said, “Cosplaying as white supremacists is disgraceful, and I can’t imagine a single way this helps Terry McAuliffe or amplifies his positive vision for Virginia.”
McAuliffe’s campaign similarly issued a statement condemning the stunt after the Lincoln Project admitted to orchestrating it.
“What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize,” said campaign manager Chris Bolling.
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