December 6, 2021

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Lincoln Project claims responsibility for fake ‘white supremacists’ at Glenn Youngkin event – New York Post

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The anti-Republican political action committee The Lincoln Project claimed responsibility Friday for a stunt in which activists dressed up as tiki torch-carrying white nationalists in a bid to link Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin to racist views.

The group of five people stood outside Youngkin’s campaign bus during an event in Charlottesville, site of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017. In one of the defining images of that event, rally organizer Jason Kessler led a tiki torch-wielding mob on a march through the grounds of the University of Virginia in an attempt to echo Nazi torchlight parades.

Friday’s group — which included an African-American man — were wearing white buttoned-down shirts and khakis, the outfit worn by some of the white nationalists who attended the rally.

“We’re all in for Glenn,” members of the group said, according to an NBC 29 reporter.

Members of McAuliffe’s campaign team were quick to draw attention to the stunt on Twitter and frame Youngkin’s supporters as white nationalists. Communications staffer Jen Goodman tweeted that the gathering was “disgusting and disqualifying.”

Neo Nazis, Alt-Right, and White Supremacists take part a the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA, white supremacists march with tiki torchs through the University of Virginia campus in 2017.
White supremacists seen with tiki torches the night before the “Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
ZUMAPRESS.com

“[T]his is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are,” agreed Christina Freundlich, who was last seen looping in a Fox News reporter on an email asking her colleagues to “kill” an unflattering story about the McAuliffe campaign.

Youngkin himself suggested that his Democratic opponent was behind the demonstration, telling NBC29: “I think they work for Terry McAuliffe, and I’m sure he sent them.”

“They’ll do anything to win, and he’s doing anything to win, and so he’s paying people to show up and act silly at our rallies,” Youngkin added.

As Twitter sleuths sought to identify the individuals who took part in the bizarre protest, the McAuliffe campaign disavowed the activity.

“This was not us or anyone affiliated with our campaign,” tweeted McAuliffe spokesman Renzo Olivari. “There is one candidate in this race who has embraced white nationalists — and his name is Glenn Youngkin.”

Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Andrew Whitley denied in a statement that the party had any role in the stunt.

“What happened in Charlottesville four years ago was a tragedy and one of the darkest moments in our state’s recent memories and is an event not to be taken lightly,” Whitley wrote. “For anyone to accuse our staff to have a role in this event is shameful and wrong.”

The Lincoln Project ultimately claimed credit for the outrageous scene in a statement Friday evening. 

A small group of 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 at a Mexican restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A small group of demonstrators dressed as “Unite the Right” rallygoers with tiki torches outside the bus of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin in Charlottesville.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

“Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginia voters of what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it,” the group said.

The anti-Trump group slammed Youngkin for refusing to denounce the 45th president’s statement that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the rally, which degenerated into a riot in which one person died and 35 were injured.

“Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate,” the Lincoln Project statement declared.

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 1, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to present the Commander in Chief trophy to the U.S. Military Academy football team in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
The Lincoln Project said that Youngkin is former President “Donald Trump’s candidate.”
Evan Vucci, File/AP

“Wait”, Youngkin communications director Matt Wolking tweeted Friday evening, “so Terry McAuliffe’s campaign coordinated to promote a hoax perpetrated by a group of grifters who are famous for protecting a pedophile? And I thought their day couldn’t get any worse…”

Wolking was referring to sexual harassment allegations against Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver, a former adviser to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and John Kasich. 

McAuliffe’s campaign has accused Youngkin of catering to white racists by vowing to ban K-12 schools from teaching critical race theory, an issue that has galvanized parents across the country.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s team denied the allegations they sent the people with the tiki torches.
Alex Brandon/AP

A recent Fox News poll showed Youngkin leading McAuliffe by 8 percentage points among likely voters, causing some commentators to suggest that Friday’s display indicated panic in the Democratic ranks.

Reporter Ben Jacobs described the stunt on Twitter as the “[s]trongest evidence so far I’ve seen that the Fox News poll was dead on in VA.”

Pseudonymous conservative media critic AG Hamilton agreed, tweeting: “The McAuliffe camp would not have been this desperate to promote this stunt if their internal numbers didn’t signal they were in trouble.”

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