At Saturday’s first gubernatorial debate, Ed Gillespie looked more like a D.C. spin doctor than a man who is ready be the 73rd governor of Virginia. Within the opening minutes of the debate, Gillespie deflected a key question about whether he would support Donald Trump if he fired Robert Mueller. It was just the latest issue — from Trumpcare to women’s health — that Gillespie has refused to stand up to the president on.
Things only got worse from there. In the latest sign that he doesn’t support women’s health — or understand the issues facing voters — Gillespie completely dodged a question about whether he supported a state budget amendment that would increase access to contraception.
Finally, after complaining that he wanted to discuss Virginia-specific topics, Gillespie was caught trying to claw back his opposition to the 2013 bipartisan transportation deal. Gillespie has spent months attacking Ralph Northam for voting for the bill — calling him an “angry liberal” for supporting legislation backed by Governor Bob McDonnell. The attacks received criticism from both sides of the aisle — and since then, Gillespie has struggled to come up with a new position on the transportation deal. On Saturday, he actually tried to deny that he even criticized Northam for supporting the bill — proving that he will say anything to advance himself.
Here are Gillespie's three worst moments from Saturday’s debate:
1. DEFLECT: Gillespie Refuses to Stand Up to Trump on Firing Robert Mueller
WOODRUFF: Would you support him if he were to fire Robert Mueller?
GILLESPIE: Judy… I don’t… I understand and I appreciate and I respect and I’ve seen your show, and I know that it’s very focused on what’s going on Washington, D.C., but the fact is, I’m very focused on what’s going on in Virginia.
2. DODGE: Gillespie Dodges on Whether He Will Support Contraception as Governor
NORTHAM: Something that I have worked on is really increasing access to what we call LARCs, which are long-acting reversible contraceptives. We know that these are the most effective, and safest forms of contraception in 2017. So I was able to obtain $6 million a year of what we call TANF money. It didn’t come out of the general fund. And that was to be used to increase access and also to educate providers... And my question to you is, would you support such a budget amendment?
GILLESPIE: Well I would look at that Ralph … Uhh...I will take a look at that.
3. DENY: Northam Calls Out Gillespie for Attacking the 2013 Bipartisan Transportation Deal
WOODRUFF: Four years ago, Republican governor Bob McDonnell, whose campaign you chaired, won approval of a plan for road maintenance, highway construction, and mass transit funding — especially in the Hampton Roads area and in Northern Virginia. Now you’ve criticized your opponent for supporting that measure, specifically the tax increases that financed it. My question is: was that measure good for Virginia? And as governor, how would you finance transportation?
GILLESPIE: Let’s be clear, I didn’t criticize him for the transportation bill.