The Republicans who formed the Lincoln Project based on their virulent opposition to Donald Trump repeated on Friday the false “very fine” people claim against the former president when the group took responsibility for a bizarre racial stunt at a campaign stop in Charlottesville, Virginia, by Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.
After suspicion was raised that the campaign of Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe was behind it, the Lincoln Project took credit for sending five people in white shirts to stand in front of Youngkin’s campaign bus holding tiki torches in the style of the 2017 protest in Charlottesville.
In a statement, the Lincoln Project said the 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.”
The Lincoln Project pressed Youngkin to denounce Trump for a statement that he did not make.
“We will continue to hold Glenn Youngkin accountable. If he will denounce Trump’s assertion that the Charlottesville rioters possessed ‘very fine’ qualities, we’ll withdraw the tiki torches,” the group said. “Until then, we’ll be back.”
In fact, during his remarks on Charlottesville four years ago, Trump immediately made it clear he was not referring to “the neo-Nazis and white nationalists” as “fine” people, explicitly declaring “they should be condemned totally.”
His reference – as a CNN contributor pointed out in a rebuke to his network colleagues – was to the people on both sides of the issue of whether or not to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures.
Biden, in one of many occasions in which he repeated the lie, said during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention that Trump’s words in 2017 were “a wake-up call for us as a country” and, for him, “a call to action.”
“At that moment, I knew I’d have to run,” he said.
When Kamala Harris repeated the lie during the vice-presidential debate in October, then-Vice President Mike Pence rebutted her and delivered a word to media who have peddled it.
“You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country. That you selectively edit, just like Sen. Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make,” Pence said. “Sen. Harris conveniently omitted after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, and has done so repeatedly.”
Biden, for his part, weighed in on the controversial Confederate flag issue in a 1993 Senate session, declaring that “many fine people” display it.
Joe Biden once said people who “display the Confederate flag” are “fine people.” pic.twitter.com/Nqout82fPk
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) June 12, 2020
‘We’re all in for Glenn’
While the McAuliffe campaign many not have been behind the stunt, it tried to capitalize on it. Communications staffers Jen Goodman and Christina Freundlich on Twitter portrayed the white-shirted five as genuine Youngkin supporters.
Their tweets were deleted after the Lincoln Project issued its statement.
Elizabeth Holmes, a reporter for local WVIR-TV, tweeted that the group said, “We’re all in for Glenn.”
BREAKING: Terry McAuliffe campaign officially promoted the debunked tiki torch false flag operation pic.twitter.com/bzgo0Mcztx
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) October 29, 2021
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., fell for the Lincoln Project’s smear, commenting on Twitter, “Birds of a feather.”
Birds of a feather. https://t.co/FpwO2G6n4m
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) October 29, 2021
Virginia Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whitley said in a statement that his party and its partners had nothing to do with the stunt.
“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. For anyone to accuse our staff to have a role in this event is shameful and wrong.”
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