McAuliffe rolls out ad invoking Charlottesville riots in latest effort to tie Youngkin to Trump

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe films a social media post prior to casting his ballot during early voting at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Va., on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
Greg Nash

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe rolled out an ad on Tuesday invoking his response as governor to the 2017 far-right riot in Charlottesville, Va., in his latest effort to tie his GOP opponent, Glenn Youngkin, to former President Trump. 

The 60-second ad begins with Trump in 2017 saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of the riots before pivoting to a clip of Youngkin saying he was “honored” to have Trump’s endorsement. A clip of McAuliffe’s response to the riots is then shown. 

“I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis that came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth,” the-then governor said. 

White supremacists gathered in Charlottesville for a rally dubbed “Unite the Right.” The rally turned violent as clashes broke out between white nationalists and counterprotesters. During the violence, a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

The ad marks McAuliffe’s latest attempt to tie Youngkin to Trump. McAuliffe’s campaign has hit Youngkin over a rally titled “Take Back Virginia,” at which Youngkin was not present. The rally, in which Trump briefly called in, featured attendees pledging allegiance to an American flag that was flown at the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The event has since drawn widespread criticism. 

Youngkin condemned the action of pledging allegiance to the flag that was flown on Jan. 6, calling the action “weird and wrong” in a statement last week. 

However, McAuliffe’s campaign has continued to tie the Republican gubernatorial nominee to Trump and his role in the Jan. 6 riot. While Trump has endorsed Youngkin, the two have not campaigned together. 

Meanwhile, Youngkin has continued to go on the offensive against McAuliffe, zeroing on comments made during a debate last month in which McAuliffe said he did not believe parents should tell schools what they should teach students. 

Polls show a tight race between McAuliffe and Youngkin two weeks out from Election Day. A Fox News poll released last week showed McAuliffe with 51 percent support from likely voters, while Youngkin had 46 percent support. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

Tags 2021 Virginia governor election campaign ads Charlottesville riots Donald Trump McAuliffe campaign
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