For twenty full days, Ed Gillespie has refused to denounce Donald Trump’s shameful reaction to the violence in Charlottesville. Instead, as The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote yesterday, Gillespie has taken a “‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude” when it comes to Donald Trump. Unwilling to call out Trump’s extremism, Gillespie has seemed to adopt what columnist Norman Leahy called his “exotic ideas” — including the President’s neo-Confederate rhetoric, his extreme advisors like Jack Morgan, and his divisive politics. It might help Gillespie win over Corey Stewart voters — but at what price? As The Daily Beast warns, “getting too close to Trump is a death wish in the Old Dominion.”
Washington Post: Ed Gillespie goes off the deep end, increases GOP’s unacceptability in Virginia
“Too afraid to oppose race-baiters and white-grievance mongers such as Trump, they adopt a ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude. In doing so, they forfeit their own integrity and make the entire party offensive to everyone else — even to those who might embrace some of their economic positions. If Trump can turn Ed Gillespie into a Confederate flag-waver, then the GOP really has lost any claim to be the Party of Lincoln.”
Daily Beast: The Fight Over Confederate Statues May Lose Him the Virginia Governor’s Race
“The hiring of Jack Morgan, who served as Trump’s southwest Virginia field director—along with a more hardline shift in Gillespie’s stance on Confederate statue removal—drove political observers and Virginia Democrats to conclude that the seemingly establishment Republican is stuck between appealing to the more moderate voters of the state and a Trump base animated by the battle over the monuments.”
Washington Post: Norman Leahy: Gillespie should follow the boring path
“Exotic opinions won’t help Gillespie where he needs it most: the large and largely Democratic Northern Virginia counties. Nor does Gillespie get a boost from a recent email directing supporters to a petition urging them to sign so that Virginia’s confederate statutes “stay right where they are.” As a list-building exercise, it will probably work. But sending out something like this when Hurricane Harvey was battering the Texas coast? Not exactly good timing (never mind the messaging, which would make Stewart smile).