Richmond, Va. — Republicans from across the country are speaking out against Trump — from John Kasich to Charlie Baker to Jeff Flake. The list goes on and on. But one Republican has remained silent: Ed Gillespie.
For months now, Gillespie has refused to stand up to the hate and bigotry of the Trump administration. On Saturday when Trump first defended the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Gillespie stayed silent. On Sunday, when Republicans were coming out in droves denouncing Trump, Gillespie was nowhere to be found. After Trump’s tirade yesterday, Gillespie refused to mention the President. And it’s not just Trump — in a replay of the ugly Republican primary, Gillespie declined to call out Corey Stewart’s vile attempt to shift blame for the violence in Charlottesville to “left-wingers” and his claim that “white nationalists had been unfairly singled out.”
Gillespie’s failure to condemn Trump’s vitriol has sparked a fierce backlash. Even conservatives have been shocked by his refusal to denounce Trump — and seriously questioned his fitness to be Virginia’s next governor.
Ed Gillespie’s campaign stands at a crossroads. As the political team at NBC reported, “Gillespie will have to make a choice: Denounce Stewart and call for him to leave the Republican Party, or have Stewart’s comments get tied to him.” Former Bush aide Sara Fagen reiterated that point on MSNBC, noting that Gillespie failed to deliver a “strong, swift condemnation” of Trump’s remarks.
Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin was even more clear: “If Gillespie wants to be a leader of a modern, tolerant and diverse Commonwealth, he cannot wink at Corey Stewart voters.”
See below for how Ed Gillespie’s silence on Trump takes center stage once again:
MSNBC: What Do You Do If You’re Ed Gillespie?
Todd: What do you do if you’re Ed Gillespie? What’s your advice to Ed Gillespie? This is.. to me… this has got to be hard.
Fagen: Strong, swift condemnation.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Schapiro: Charlottesville narrows Gillespie's path to Richmond
“In 2017, Ed Gillespie’s ambitions for governor were threatened by animus for Donald Trump even before the violent melee in Charlottesville during which three died — a counterprotester allegedly mowed down by a car driven by a white nationalist, and two state police pilots in the crash of their helicopter while monitoring the chaos.”
Washington Post : The time for Ed Gillespie’s ‘Buckley moment’ has arrived
“A Gillespie version of a “Buckley moment,” emulating William F. Buckley’s casting the toxic John Birch Society out of the conservative movement in the early 1960s, wouldn’t just cleanse the Virginia Republican ranks of a creeping cancer, it also would elevate him in the eyes of all sensible Virginians. So far, he doesn’t appear ready to make the effort.”
Washington Post: Gillespie has a choice: Confederate statues or a tolerant Commonwealth
“If Gillespie wants to be a leader of a modern, tolerant and diverse Commonwealth, he cannot wink at Corey Stewart voters demanding that tributes to the Confederacy remain in place.”
NBC: Ed Gillespie’s “Corey Stewart” problem
“Gillespie will have to make a choice: Denounce Stewart and call for him to leave the Republican Party, or have Stewart’s comments get tied to him (Stewart has said he’s supporting Gillespie in November).”
Mother Jones: The Republican Running For Governor in Virginia is a Big Fan of Keeping Confederate Monuments
“Ed Gillespie, Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, spent the spring and summer campaigning against Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Following this weekend’s outbreak of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Gillespie is remaining silent on whether his views have changed.”
New York Magazine: How the GOP Can Prove It Isn’t a Party for White Supremacists
“The GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, Ed Gillespie said Saturday that “displays” of “vile hate” have “no place in our commonwealth.” Weeks earlier, he promised to oppose all efforts to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park.”
BuzzFeed: How Charlottesville Hasn’t Yet Changed The Confederate Monument Debate
“BuzzFeed News contacted more than 15 Republican candidates, operatives, and officeholders in Southern states with the same basic question: Does seeing these symbols embraced in the name of racism and in a violent manner change how you feel about pro-Confederate politics? Only two replied. None answered the question as posed.
“Those unheard from include Ed Gillespie, who in June narrowly beat a pro-Confederate candidate in Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial primary. The posturing by his rival, Corey Stewart, forced Gillespie to take a more explicit position on the Lee statue. (“No, Ed Gillespie doesn’t support removing Confederate monuments,” read the headline on a Gillespie campaign statement that pushed back on a Stewart claim.)”