This morning on CNN's At This Hour, gubernatorial candidate and Congressman Rob Wittman refused to call David Duke and racists deplorable....four separate times when asked directly. This comes as Republican leaders like Sen. Mike Lee have urged Pence to call David Duke deplorable amid widespread criticism.
Earlier today, fellow gubernatorial candidate and Trump's Virginia Chairman Corey Stewart called upon Ed Gillespie, Rob Wittman, and Frank Wagner to start focusing on Trump's campaign rather than pivoting toward 2017. All of the 2017 Republican gubernatorial candidates have endorsed Trump.
Clearly, Rob Wittman has taken Corey Stewart up on his offer, and has fully embraced Donald Trump and the alt-right movement that comes along with him.
EXCERPTS FROM TRANSCRIPT
#1: John Berman: Congressman, what's wrong with calling David Duke deplorable?
Wittman: Well I think you've heard both from Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence they have denounced him, they say he's not a good individual. [...]
#2: Kate Bolduan: Would you call David Duke deplorable?
Wittman: I do not agree at all with anything that David Duke has said or done, period. i denounce what he stands for, period.
#3: John Berman: So, Gregory Meeks, your colleague from the state of New York, congressman from New York was just on earlier today and we were pressing him on this and he said some Americans are deplorable. Do you agree?
Wittman: I believe that there are folks out there that have different viewpoints and ideas. i respect those individuals and adamantly disagree with many of their viewpoints. we live in a free and open society where you can freely express those ideas and we know, too, when people cross over where the law says the things they can and cannot do. i believe in our society, that free exchange is clear.
#4: John Berman: But what Hillary Clinton says is racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, she was calling those people deplorable. Would you call those racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic people are they deplorable?
Wittman: I would say the way Hillary Clinton has classified those groups people where she says half of Trump supporters, a large swath of the united states, how does she determine who individually is racist? who individually is doing things that are objectionable? I disagree with the behavior I'm gonna make sure that each individual we judge them based on what they say and they do not chastising large groups of people without any kind of determination about whether what they've done or what they've said is indeed by her definition deplorable. [...]