Tomorrow, Youngkin Will Attend Insurrectionist-Sponsored Election Integrity Rally, Just Days After Suggesting Trump Could Be Reinstated as President
Richmond, VA — Today, new reporting in the Washington Post is highlighting the "tricky dance" that Glenn Youngkin is attempting around his "Election Integrity" rhetoric based on Donald Trump's election lies. Just days after suggesting that Donald Trump could be reinstated as president -- and ahead of attending an "Election Integrity" rally hosted by Capitol riot insurrectionists -- Glenn Youngkin is refusing to say whether he supports an audit of Virginia's 2020 presidential election. President Joe Biden won the Commonwealth of Virginia by 10 points.
See the full report here and read it below.
The Washington Post: Youngkin’s tricky dance with ‘election integrity’ complicates run for Virginia governor
By Laura Vozzella
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin will address an "election integrity" rally Saturday, a politically risky event that Virginia's two other statewide GOP candidates are skipping.
His appearance at the rally — organized by a Trump supporter who was outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection — will come just days after Youngkin was caught on video tiptoeing around a supporter's fantastical claim that Trump could be restored to the White House this month or next.
Youngkin took flak all week not only from Democrats accusing him of promoting Trump's "big lie," but from Republican activists who said he wasn't taking a strong enough stand on the issue.
Their reactions point to the high-wire act Youngkin is struggling to pull off — a preview of the tightrope that Republicans in swing states across the country are likely to face in the 2022 midterms.
“Let’s get off the fence,” Paul Thiel, a longtime tea party activist from Mechanicsville, said Monday at a demonstration outside the state Capitol calling for an audit of the state’s 2020 election. “Say, ‘We want an audit.’ What is wrong with that? … Talk about it. Let’s hear it.”
Thomas Kasperek of Sterling, who organized the Richmond rally, said Youngkin’s call for “election integrity” was too vague.
“We’re still trying to figure out what he means by it,” said Kasperek, 64, who plans to attend the Saturday rally at Liberty University with hopes of pinning Youngkin down on the matter. “Will you and do you support a full forensic audit of the state of Virginia, yes or no?”
Youngkin’s campaign did not immediately respond to a question about whether he supports an audit of Virginia’s presidential election, President Biden won in the state by 10 points.
Even as he reaches out to suburban moderates, Youngkin must keep the Republican base fired up. And Trump’s “big lie,” as Democrats call it, fires them up like nothing else.
A political newcomer and former Carlyle Group executive, Youngkin made “election integrity” the centerpiece of his bid for the GOP nomination. But even then, he tried to walk a fine line.
During the convention battle, he never said that Biden stole the election, but he also refused to acknowledge that the Democrat had legitimately won it. He would say only that Biden was the president, had been sworn in and was sleeping in the White House.
Shortly after securing the nomination, he publicly acknowledged for the first time that Biden had legitimately won. He also said he would shift his focus to “kitchen table” issues such as schools, jobs and public safety.
But he has put plenty of red meat on that table, including inflammatory cultural issues such as his opposition to “critical race theory” and certain transgender rights in schools. And he has continued to push for “election integrity,” calling for the state to tighten restrictions on voting by requiring photo ID, for instance.
He’s struggled to pull off the balancing act at times.
On July 29, Youngkin took questions from supporters at the grand opening of his Fredericksburg campaign office. A woman he called on suggested Trump could be on the verge of returning to the White House, according to video first reported Monday by HuffPost.
“I agree that Trump won, that it was all fraud,” the woman said. “And if Trump comes back in August or September, and all of our Virginia [congressional] races that were stolen also, will that change anything to get people out of office and back in — get our people back into office?
Youngkin seemed to indulge the premise of her question, taking issue only with her timetable; he said any reversal of the presidential election could be delayed by a slow-moving judiciary.
“Yeah, ma’am, I don’t know the particulars about how that can happen, because what’s happening in the court system is moving slowly and it’s unclear,” he said. “And we all know the courts move slowly.”
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, a former governor seeking a comeback, slammed Youngkin’s response.
“Glenn has been spreading Donald Trump’s lies since the day he launched his campaign,” McAuliffe tweeted. “Now he’s entertaining the idea that Trump could be reinstated as President.”
Youngkin later issued a written statement suggesting that he had “politely” tried to set the woman straight. He also said that Biden would be in office for the next three and a half years, although in a way that bashed the Democrat.
“I’ve said that Joe Biden is legitimately our president so there is no question here,” Youngkin’s said. “As I tried to say politely the other day, there is no legal proceeding that will change the fact that Joe Biden and his liberal allies are dragging our economy down with their bad policies until 2025, and instead of litigating the past we must be focused on winning in November to stop those policies here in Virginia.”
On Saturday, Youngkin intends to go through with plans to appear at an “election integrity” rally at Liberty, an event that the rest of the GOP’s statewide ticket is skipping.
On advertisements last month, Youngkin, attorney general candidate Jason S. Miyares and lieutenant governor candidate Winsome E. Sears were all listed as headliners for a banquet on the closing night of the two-day rally.
But early this week, the Miyares and Sears said they were not attending, as first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. By then, Democrats had spent days calling on all three to drop out of an event that they said was meant to promote former president Trump’s baseless election fraud claims.
Miyares spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita said he had a scheduling conflict.
“The campaign never publicly said that we would attend the Saturday event at Liberty,” LaCivita said. “We had double booked and are looking forward to being with Harold Pyon Saturday night,” she added, referring to the Republican challenging Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax).
“We were triple overbooked,” Sears campaign manager CJ Jordan told the RTD. Jordan declined to comment to The Post, pointing to her statement to the other newspaper.
Melvin Adams, a regional GOP chairman who organized the Liberty rally and stood outside the U.S. Capitol while other Trump supporters stormed it on Jan. 6, confirmed that Youngkin was still scheduled to appear at the event, which is closed to the press, but declined to comment further.
On Thursday, Youngkin’s campaign confirmed his participation to The Post, saying he would “say a few words” about his support for requiring voters to show photo ID.
Youngkin’s campaign has said he had only agreed to “stop by” the 5th District GOP event, which had been offered to him as a chance to meet with grass-roots volunteers. Adams has said that’s how he’d largely pitched the event to the campaign, without specifically mentioning its focus on “election integrity.”