Virginia GOP says Democratic candidate ‘hates America’

Virginia GOP says Democratic candidate ‘hates America’
© Republican Party of Virginia

The Republican Party of Virginia in a new campaign on social media declared that Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a House candidate running against Republican Denver Riggleman, “hates America." 

The organization released an attack ad against Cockburn on its official social media accounts Friday. 

“Leslie Cockburn: hates veterans, hates ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], hates Israel,” the post reads. “Basically, Leslie Cockburn hates America.”

The attack ad was first reported by The Washington Post. Riggleman, Cockburn's opponent, declined to comment to the newspaper on the campaign.

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Cockburn’s campaign manager blasted the GOP for the post and condemned Riggleman for remaining silent.

“Leslie is stunned that Denver wouldn’t condemn the GOP’s baseless attack on her love of country,” Cockburn campaign manager Louise Bruce said in a statement. “While Leslie and Denver may disagree on the issues ... we can all share a common patriotism and devotion to our United States.”

John Findlay, executive director of the Virginia GOP, defended the party’s social media campaign against Cockburn.

“She called ICE agents the Gestapo,” Findlay told the Post. “She insulted our veterans. She blames American foreign policy for everything that’s wrong in the world. What more do we need — a tape of her saying she hates apple pie?”

Findlay was referencing a book that Cockburn co-wrote with her husband several years ago that was critical of America’s alliance with Israel.

When President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE implemented a "zero tolerance" policy earlier this year, Cockburn compared immigration agents separating migrant families to “the new Gestapo.”

Cockburn, a former “60 Minutes” producer, went head-to-head with Riggleman on veteran’s issues during a debate earlier this week.

Riggleman is veteran himself and served as chief of intelligence for the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squad, the Post noted.

Cockburn suggested that she had more credibility on the war on Afghanistan because she was on the ground reporting on it. 

Riggleman was planning bombing raids from the distant island Diego Garcia, Cockburn pointed out during the debate.

Cockburn’s husband, Andrew Cockburn, inflamed the fight even more when he suggested in a tweet that Riggleman had spent his time in the military “snorkeling off Diego Garcia,” the Post reported.

He deleted the tweet and shut down his Twitter account.

The Cook Political Report rates the race between the two as leaning Republican, giving Riggleman an edge in keeping the seat currently held by Rep. Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettRepublican Riggleman defeats Dem in Virginia's 5th District Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide Ex-GOP Sen. Warner endorses Virginia Democrat over Dave Brat MORE (R) in GOP hands.