NORFOLK, VA (AP) – Anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project on Friday took out a loan for five people who showed up with tiki torches at the halt of the Virginia GOP nominee’s campaign for governor in Charlottesville. violence in 2017.
WVIR in Charlottesville covered the campaign stop and reported that candidate Glenn Youngkin was in a restaurant when a group of people wearing matching hats, khaki pants and white button-down shirts appeared near his campaign bus. The former private wealth executive and political newcomer is in a tough race ahead of Tuesday’s election day against former Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The photographs show the group holding large tiki torches. Their appearance was reminiscent of two days of chaos in August 2017, when white supremacists gathered on college campus for a Unite Right rally, ostensibly to protest the planned demolition of a Confederate monument.
On the night before the planned rally, a group of tiki torches marched across the University of Virginia campus, confronting a small group of anti-racist protesters. The next day, a car driven by a self-proclaimed white supremacist crashed into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing one and injuring dozens.
McAuliffe staff promoted a reporter’s tweet about the group’s appearance, using it to attack Yangkin and suggesting that the torch-bearers were his supporters. Youngkin employees accused McAuliffe or the Virginia Democrats of being behind the campaign, prompting denial of their paternity.
“What happened today is disgusting and unpleasant, and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should apologize immediately, ”McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Bolling said in a statement.
The Virginia Democratic Party issued a statement saying that neither the party nor its “coordinated partners and affiliates” had anything to do with the “events” at the campaign bus stop.
Lincoln then weighed the project, claiming it was behind what he called a “demonstration.” “Yangkin’s campaign is outraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is the Donald Trump candidate,” the group said in a statement about the former president.
The incident took place at a difficult time for the city. A civil trial began Monday to determine whether neo-Nazis and white supremacists who staged the 2017 demonstrations should be held accountable for the violence.
Democratic MP Sally Hudson, representing Charlottesville in the General Assembly, denounced the torch incident as a “stunt.”
“Charlottesville is not a prop. Our community is still struggling to recover from years of trauma, especially this week. Don’t go back, @ProjectLincoln. Your tricks are not welcome here, ”she said. tweeted…
Yangkin’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.