The former president called in to a group of his staunch supporters when Donald Trump rallied Republicans to vote for Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia. This may be his closest encounter with campaigning in the 2021 election most closely followed by the public.
Schedules may change during the last weeks of the race but the two are unlikely to be together before the Nov. 2, election against Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
“Is Trump coming to Virginia?” Yes. Yes. Youngkin’s campaign said Friday that it has no plans to allow surrogates before Election Day.
This dynamic is a reflection of Trump’s complex balancing act with Youngkin. It could be a model for any other Republicans facing competitive campaigns in 2022.
Trump is the most beloved figure in GOP politics, and he is keen to stay engaged. Youngkin must get Trump’s support out. He cannot afford to give Trump an excuse to abandon him in the final weeks of the race. Youngkin cannot be tied too closely with someone who is not popular in key areas of the state, especially the suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C. and Richmond.
Youngkin avoided the Wednesday event, which also featured Steve Bannon, a longtime Trump strategist. Youngkin could soon be charged with contempt after refusing to cooperate in the investigation of the Capitol riot. After the Republican rally was attended by angry protestors, the emcee claimed that the flag had been flown during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Youngkin later condemned the flag’s use.
Trump is still the most powerful party member nine months after he resigned. However, Virginia lost 10 percentage points to Trump in 2020. According to a Fox News poll, only 44% of the likely voters in Virginia view Trump favorably.
Bob Holsworth, a long-time state political analyst, said that Trump holding a rally in Youngkin would be “a disaster for Youngkin”.
Trump praised Youngkin for being “a great gentleman” at the rally while spreading lies about the 2020 election he lost against Democrat Joe Biden.
Democrats immediately condemned the “Donald Trump insurrectionist rally.” McAuliffe’s campaigns cut an ad featuring Trump’s praises for Youngkin. The Democratic nominee then held a conference to critique his opponent for his initial silence and focus on “dangerous conspiracies”
Trump is not likely to have much success if he spends more political capital on the race.
Trump will try to claim credit if Youngkin wins. He’ll cite his participation at Wednesday’s rally and May endorsement, as well as any future efforts to get the vote out. Trump can’t blame Youngkin for not being more aligned with the former president if Youngkin loses.
Trump stated that the only men who win are those who embrace the MAGA movement. They try to go down a railroad track. They never win because they love Trump, love Trump. They will never win. They must embrace it.”
Youngkin’s campaign doesn’t have many well-known surrogates, but McAuliffe has gathered Democratic star power. McAuliffe has seen Biden, and McAuliffe’s ex-governor told The Associated Press that the president would return before the election. Jill Biden, the first lady, joined McAuliffe Friday at a rally. Former President Barack Obama will be campaigning with him this week.
Representatives for Trump didn’t respond to questions regarding the race. Youngkin’s campaign didn’t respond to questions regarding Trump.
Since winning the primary, Youngkin has targeted his appeal more towards moderate and independent voters. Youngkin did not say whether Biden had been fairly elected during that campaign. Youngkin later stated that he believed Biden was elected — and that there was no significant fraud in the 2020 election.
Youngkin is not following the lead of blue-state Republican governors such as Maryland’s Larry Hogan or Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker. Instead, he has run on a conservative platform. Youngkin has supported some GOP culture war issues, and vowed to reject the “left-liberal progressive agenda” that he claims is shaping Virginia.
He’s now focusing his campaign appearances on crime, taxes and other issues, after he had shifted away from his primary focus on integrity in the nomination contest.
Democrats have criticised him for his recent comments about auditing the state’s voting machines, and for campaigning alongside state Senator Amanda Chase, an ardent proponent of electoral falsehoods, who has earned the nickname “Trump In Heels.”
Youngkin also stated that Trump “represents so many of the reasons why I’m running.”
Youngkin’s goal is to retain the MAGA base and absorb suburban defectors from Democrats. Holsworth said that it was difficult.
Fredericks stated that it was a winning strategy.
He stated, “Here’s why Glenn Youngkin will win: We’re keeping the Trump base together with a thread.” “Glenn Youngkin’s campaign has not abandoned the core principles that are important for Trump voters. Not one day.”
Former Republican governor. Jim Gilmore stated that Youngkin did a great job keeping the race focused on his candidacy.
He stated, “I believe that nationalizing the campaign is not beneficial to either of these candidates.”
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis said that Glenn “has to be his own man” in order to “run his own race.” He represented northern Virginia for 14 years.
Davis stated that he believes Virginia voters care more about Biden’s approval rating than Trump. He said that people voted for Biden to “get Donald Trump out of the living room.” “But they didn’t vote for all of this stuff that Biden’s bringing with them. They’re going to stomp the brakes, I believe.”