RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans tried to fire the party’s right-wing base ahead of Virginia’s crucial November elections on Wednesday, at a rally with lies about the 2020 election and attacks against vaccine and mask mandates did. .
The party’s candidate for governor, Glenn Youngkin, did not attend the event, but received a warm hug from Trump, who called on the phone, urging a crowd of a few hundred in suburban Richmond to walk out to vote for the businessman. Exit and first-time candidates.
“Glenn Youngkin is a great gentleman,” said Trump, who previously backed Youngkin, before repeating his lie that Democrat Joe Biden won the White House due to massive voter fraud.
Other speakers at the “Take Back Virginia Rally” included former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon; Representative Mark Finchem of Arizona, who has worked to reverse Trump’s 2020 loss in the state; and Virginia State Sen. Amanda Chase, a prominent promoter of electoral fraud conspiracy theories. It was hosted by conservative talk show host John Frederick, a former president of the Trump campaign in Virginia.
The show of right-wing enthusiasm came as Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are locked in a tight race in Democratic-leaning Virginia, one of just two states running for governors this year. Republicans have focused their attention on liberal and independent voters critical to success, but they also need strong turnout among Trump followers.
Youngqin has given up on caution When addressing the lies about fraud being propagated by Trump and others in his party. Republicans, who declined to say in his primary campaign whether Biden was elected fairly, have said they believe he was — and do not believe there was significant fraud last November. Was.
Youngkin’s campaign did not respond to questions from The Associated Press on Wednesday about whether it expected Trump to campaign with her in the final stages or whether she chose not to attend Wednesday’s event, in addition to the candidate’s busy travel schedule on Wednesday. pointed to.
Earlier in the week, Youngkin called on Fredericks’ show and thanked him for hosting the show.
“We’re going to win it,” Fredericks said. “We’re gonna hold the Trump coalition together while Youngkin goes out there and appeals to the independents.”
Rally attendees recited an oath of allegiance to a flag that was said to be a “peaceful” rally attended by Trump, before his supporters marched to the Capitol on January 6 in a deadly attempted revolt. But attacked.
Democrats condemned the incident and criticized Youngkin after Trump’s remarks.
Glenn Youngkin has made it clear: his top priority is to bring Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda to Virginia. As Youngkin focuses his campaign on advancing right-wing conspiracies and advancing an extreme policy agenda, he is the first making it clearer than ever that he is too extreme for Virginia,” said Manuel Bondar, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia.
Democrats have also criticized Youngkin’s continued desire to campaign with Chase. The state senator from suburban Richmond also sought the nomination for governor this year and regularly shared misinformation about the security of Virginia’s elections. Chase, which was censored The Senate has called for an “audit” of the 2020 election in Virginia on a bipartisan basis earlier this year and said in December that Trump should impose martial law to confiscate voting machines.
Even on Wednesday, she continued to focus on false claims.
“We are going to do something about electoral integrity. And I know what’s up, Youngkin Campaign knows what’s up. We are watching like we have never seen before,” she told the crowd.
Trump heavily lost Virginia to Democrat Joe Biden last year – a routine state audit confirms The result – and no election was stolen from Trump.
Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr found no evidence of widespread electoral corruption. Allegations of mass voting fraud were also dismissed by several judges and dismissed by state election officials and a branch of the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration.
The Youngkin campaign today sought to draw a comparison between false claims of fraud and the 2000 presidential election, when a Supreme Court ruling decided the winner and McAuliffe destroyed the decision, saying the election had been plagiarized.
Winsome Sears, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, did not speak as scheduled. Her campaign did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday night.
A preliminary advisory said GOP nominee Jason Miares for attorney general would participate. But her spokeswoman Victoria Lakivita said over the phone that it was “a mistake, a miscommunication.”
He said the candidate’s program was filled with debate Incidents against incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring earlier in the day and an evening elsewhere.
Del Terry Kilgore and Sen. Bill Stanley were at various points advertised as speakers but said they had work commitments and did not attend.