WASHINGTON — Ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Virginia on Tuesday, Virginia Republicans are secretly wishing the President would stay out of the commonwealth.
Vulnerable Republican General Assembly members are remaining completely silent on Trump — both refusing to condemn his latest racist tirades or welcome him to the 400th anniversary of the legislative body.
“Too cowardly to condemn Donald Trump’s racism, Virginia Republicans are pretending the president just doesn’t exist,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee press secretary Matt Harringer. “Vulnerable Republican General Assembly members are too scared to criticize Trump and too afraid to praise him — they’re stuck in limbo with zero grassroots momentum from their base and no support from moderate voters.”
Since his election, Trump’s biggest foray into Virginia was to defend white nationalists after they murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. Just three months later, with the president’s unpopularity weighing them down, Republicans lost 15 seats in the 2017 state House elections.
Despite Trump’s claim that the commonwealth would be a competitive 2020 state, the president’s re-election campaign found he is currently on track to lose Virginia by as much as 17 points.
“Two years after Charlottesville, Trump is doubling-down on racism and if Republicans won’t condemn him, it’s going to cost them the General Assembly,” Harringer said. “Trump’s racism may not offend the commonwealth’s elected Republicans, but it disgusts Virginia voters.”
Hillary Clinton won a majority of the General Assembly’s House and Senate districts, as did Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Tim Kaine. Democrats need to flip just two seats in each chamber to win full control of the General Assembly and state government this November.
And despite their silence today, Republicans in the General Assembly previously offered an array of on-the-record support for Trump. A few examples:
Delegate Glenn Davis said, “I’m running to do exactly what Donald Trump did in Washington.”
Senator Bryce Reeves said, “God delivered us that (presidential) election.”
Delegate David Yancey refused to condemn the president after it was revealed Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and later said he would still vote for him.
Senator Siobhan Dunnavant belonged to a racist, anti-Semitic, pro-Trump Facebook group, where members shared views such as, “Whites need to leave South Africa, so it can turn into a sh*thole like every other country on the continent.”
Delegate Tim Hugo celebrated Trump’s nomination at the National Convention, gleefully tweeting, “Virginia casts votes for Trump!!!!”
“The GOP is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt — they’re the party of Corey Stewart and Donald Trump,” Harringer said. “They’re out of touch with Virginians and in for a reckoning this November.”