OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrats are getting desperate in Virginia as a race many thought they had locked appears to be slipping away.
On Friday the anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project, who claims to be a group of conservatives, appeared to take credit for a stunt in which people dressed as white supremacists gathered at an event for the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin, pretending to support him., Fox News reported.
“These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, ‘We’re all in for Glenn.’ Here they are standing in front of the bus as his campaign event at Guadalajara started,” NBC 28 reporter Elizabeth Holmes said on Twitter with a photo of the men dressed like those at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, holding tiki torches.
These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, “We’re all in for Glenn.” Here they are standing in front of the bus as his campaign event at Guadalajara started.@NBC29 pic.twitter.com/l681ejyBjc
— Elizabeth Holmes (@holmes_reports) October 29, 2021
Some members of Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign, presumably believing the stunt was real, spread the hoax on Twitter.
“The Unite the Right rally was one of the darkest days in the Commonwealth’s history. this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are,” Christina Freundlich, a spokesperson for the Democrat, said in a tweet that has since been deleted.
“Wow. At a campaign stop for Glen Youngkin this morning, people were holding tiki torches and chanting “we’re all in for Glenn,” McAuliffe campaign social media manager Charlie Olaf said in another tweet that has been deleted. “Disgusting reference to the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville.”
And they were not the only Democrats who got in on the act.
California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell said, “Birds of a feather,” in a tweet that he has since deleted after The Lincoln Project appeared to take credit.
“The Lincoln Project has run advertisements highlighting the hate unleashed in Charlottesville as well as Glenn Youngkin’s continued failure to denounce Donald Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides.’ We will continue to draw this contrast in broadcast videos, on our social media platforms, and at Youngkin rallies,” the group said. “Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it.”
“In my capacity as a communications consultant, I worked w @ProjectLincoln to coordinate today’s Youngkin action in Charlottesville. I join them in the fight to defend our democracy from rightwing extremists and call for Glenn Youngkin to denounce Trump’s ‘very fine people,’” Lauren Windsor, the executive director of American Family Voices said.
In my capacity as a communications consultant, I worked w @ProjectLincoln to coordinate today's Youngkin action in Charlottesville. I join them in the fight to defend our democracy from rightwing extremists and call for Glenn Youngkin to denounce Trump’s ‘very fine people.
— Lauren Windsor (@lawindsor) October 29, 2021
When the McAuliffe campaign learned that the demonstration was a hoax, after it helped spread the images, it condemned what The Lincoln Project apparently did.
“What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize,” Chris Bolling, McAuliffe’s campaign manager, said to Vice News reporter Cameron Joseph.
“The Democratic Party of Virginia, along with its coordinated partners and its affiliates, did not have any role in the events that happened outside of the Youngkin campaign bus stop today,” the campaign said.
“What happened in Charlottesville four years ago was a tragedy and one of the darkest moments in our state’s recent memories and is an event not to be taken lightly,” it said. “For anyone to accuse our staff to have a role in this event is shameful and wrong.”
But when asked for comment, Youngkin said that he did believe the McAuliffe campaign had a role in it.
“I think they work for Terry McAuliffe, and I’m sure he sent them. They’ll do anything to win, and he’s doing anything to win, and so he’s paying people to show up and act silly at our rallies,” he said.