PALM BEACH, Fla. – EXCLUSIVE: Former President Donald Trump said Democrats put him “on the ballot” in Virginia, saying they “played it wrong.” Trump also touted GOP Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin as a “very good candidate.”
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the former president said that Youngkin’s upset win in Virginia’s gubernatorial election this week over Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe was in part due to Trump’s endorsement.
“If you look at what happened in Virginia, it’s very interesting. They used my name — the Democrats — so much that they ended up losing,” Trump told Fox News. “One of the reasons [McAuliffe] lost is because he kept saying Trump, Trump, Trump.
“And the greatest base in the history of politics came out at a level that they never would have if he wasn’t so foolish — and I’m using a nice word — foolish,” Trump continued. “He was a terrible candidate on the Democrat side, and Glenn was a very good candidate and a gracious candidate.”
Trump told Fox News that Youngkin called him the morning after the election and “really thanked me because he understood the importance of what we did.”
“So, it helped him a lot with the nomination, and it helped him a lot with the win,” Trump said, referring to his endorsement of Youngkin. “And the Democrats played it wrong because they went after Trump.
“They put me on the ballot. The Democrats put me on the ballot.”
Trump pointed to the final weeks of Virginia’s gubernatorial race, with McAuliffe campaigning with former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Biden and more.
“They brought in everybody they could bring in,” Trump said. “It was a great victory in a state that, I happen to think, is much more red than they think, OK? I don’t really see that as a fully blue state.”
In response to Obama’s appearance on the campaign trail, Trump said Virginians “don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped-up culture wars.”
“This fake outrage that right-wing media pedals to juice their ratings, and the fact that he’s willing to go along with it instead of talking about serious problems that actually affect serious people? That’s a shame,” Obama said. “That’s not what this election’s about. That’s not what you need, Virginia.”
When asked about Obama’s remarks Friday, Trump said: “Well, I think they’re phony comments.”
“When you hear that, look, they did very, very badly in Virginia. They did very, very badly, frankly, in New Jersey. It is an incredible thing to see,” Trump added. “But what happened in Virginia was quite unthinkable.”
Trump said he thought Republicans “gave up” Virginia “long before they should have.”
“The people of Virginia are angry, and the reason we won that state — number one — we had a good candidate and a nice guy and somebody who was really, very gracious,” Trump said. “But you also had the MAGA voters come out in force because they’re tired of it, and they voted, and they made the difference.”
Trump’s comments come after Youngkin secured a victory in traditionally blue Virginia, a state Biden won by 10 points in 2020.
Republicans Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares also declared victory in Virginia in the lieutenant governor and attorney general races, respectively. The GOP had not won a statewide election since 2009.
In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly edged Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. Biden won the state of New Jersey by 16 points in 2020.