The Lincoln Project has confirmed it was behind a political coup in which five members posed as white supremacists wearing tiki torches during a campaign stoppage for Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from Governor of Virginia to Charlottesville ahead of Election Day next week.
Members of the anti-Trump Republican group stood outside Youngkin’s campaign bus on Friday, dressed in white shirts, khaki pants and sunglasses.
They were trying to conjure up an infamous far-right torchlight march at the University of Virginia in August 2017, a day before a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi killed a counter-protester with his car. As the Lincoln Project rode the stunt, jurors in a civil lawsuit over the rally began to hear testimony.
A few days before polling day, in a state where Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 10 points last year, McAuliffe and Youngkin are neck and neck.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama and other high-ranking Democrats have come forward for McAuliffe, fearing the loss portends setbacks in next year’s midterm election .
In comments to NBC29 after the incident but before the Lincoln Project claimed responsibility, Youngkin said he believed his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor seeking to reprise the role, had sent the men.
“They will do anything to win,” he said, “and he does anything to win, and so he pays people to show up and do silly things at our gatherings. “
McAuliffe disavowed the actions of Project Lincoln.
“What happened today in Charlottesville is disgusting and distasteful and the McAuliffe campaign condemns it in the strongest terms,” the Democrat’s campaign manager said in a statement. tweeter. “Those involved must apologize immediately. “
The Lincoln Project noted: “The protest was our way of reminding Virginians of what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s adherence to these values and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn them.
The group also said it intended to highlight Trump’s famous refusal to condemn far-right protesters in 2017, including his remark that there were “very good people” on “both sides” of the rally.
Youngkin, the group said, wanted “Virginians to forget he’s Donald Trump’s candidate.”
“Glenn Youngkin said, ‘President Trump is a big part of why I am running. “Youngkin proves it every day by trying to divide Virginians by using racial code words like” critical race theory “and by supporting the ban on teaching the works of America’s only black Nobel Laureate,” did he declare.
It was a reference to attempts involving Republican agents to remove Beloved, Toni Morrison’s classic novel about slavery in the Southern United States, from schools in Virginia.
“We will continue to hold Glenn Youngkin accountable,” the Lincoln Project said. “If he denounces Trump’s claim that the Charlottesville rioters had ‘very good qualities’, we will remove the tiki torches. Until then we will be back.
Progressive commentators condemned a coup that an activist, Elizabeth McLaughlin, called “Disrespectful, dangerous and stupid”.
“No one who really understands what’s at stake in Virginia,” McLaughlin added on Twitter, “let alone the threat of white supremacist terrorism and ACTUAL death and destruction in Charlottesville, could not. “
The Lincoln Project consultants were among those defending his actions. Lauren Windsor, an activist who used a hidden camera to catch senior Republicans expressing controversial views and who was involved in the Charlottesville stunt, retweeted a message from Joe Trippi.
“That’s why I joined the Lincoln Project”, the veteran Democrat wrote. “Trump’s Republicans are falling low … [the Lincoln Project] will go where Democrats won’t and risk everything to… expose Youngkin and his winks and nods.