January 30, 2017 News & Press Releases · Press Releases and Announcements

The Anatomy of a Hack: Gillespie Fails First Test

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Washington Insider Ed Gillespie has failed his first big test with his botched response to Trump's Muslim ban.
...Let's explore.
Saturday, January 28: 
HACK HANDBOOK: Dodge the question. On Saturday night, while chaos at Virginia airports ensued, Gillespie was asked if he supported Trump's Muslim ban - his campaign responded with this: 
"Another GOP candidate, Ed Gillespie, the frontrunner for the nomination, has not weighed in yet. Matt Moran, spokesman for Gillespie, said in an email: 'Ed keeps a busy schedule and has been on the road for the last two days. He hasn’t had a chance to review the executive order.''' [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/28/2017]

Too busy to talk about chaos at the airports in the state you're trying to represent? He walked right into that one, and it did not go unnoticed:  

"@CathyGillespie & I were at the historic @HanoverTavern today w/ all my fellow statewide candidates. Busy week! Another one starts tmrw,” the candidate tweeted, as the rest of social media lit up on both sides of the immigration debate.
At least one Republican rival for the nomination pounced with gusto. 
'Ed Gillespie is hiding in the weeds,” said state Sen. Frank W. Wagner (Virginia Beach), one of four Republicans seeking the party’s nod for governor. Wagner said he supports Trump’s action. 'Putting your finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing is not leadership, Ed,' he said." - Washington Post, 1/19/2017
Sunday, January 29: 

HACK HANDBOOK: Try to have your cake and eat it too. By the time Gillespie finally chimed in on Sunday with his position, he had alienated base voters by providing fuel for his rivals, exposed himself as a calculated hack, and because he went of his way to posit himself as the frontrunner, the national media took note.  

Instead of changing course, he doubled down with a two paragraph statement. The first paragraph was an attempt to appeal to his base. The second was paragraph was focused on general election voters. See for yourself: 

“When you factor out all the misinformation and media hysteria, it’s clear that a temporary pause on refugee resettlement is a rational step to secure our homeland and keep Americans safe. [Attacks media to appeal to the base] ...

"As Governor, I will work with the federal government to protect our homeland and the safety of Virginians. [Uses nearly identical line to the last sentence of the first paragraph] As the son of an immigrant, I know we can be a secure and welcoming nation at the same time. [Attempt to distract from the fact that he is supporting a Muslim ban

Hack 101: You can't have your cake and eat it when the entire press corps, all of your rivals, and base voters are waiting for you to chime in.
Monday, January 30: 
HACK HANDBOOK: Change the subject and pretend like it never happened. Conveniently omit your position on your website. 
Classic Gillespie.