NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – Anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project was attributed on Friday to five people who showed up with tiki torches at a campaign in Charlottesville run by Virginia’s GOP candidate for governor, reminiscent of the white races who descended on the site during the 2017 violence.
Charlottesville television station WVIR covered the campaign station and reported that candidate Glenn Youngkin was in a restaurant when a group dressed in the same hats, khakis and white button-down shirts appeared next to his election bus. The former private equity executive and political newcomer is in a close race with former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe as Tuesday election day approaches.
The photos show the group holding large tiki torches. Their appearance was reminiscent of two days of chaos in August 2017, when whites were predominant collected in a university town at a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the planned removal of a Confederate monument.
The night before the planned rally, a group carrying tiki torches marched across the campus of the University of Virginia and clashed with a small group of anti-racist protesters. The next day, a car driven by a confident white supporter crashed into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing one and injuring dozens.
McAuliffe staff promoted a press tweet about the group’s appearance and used it to attack Youngkin, indicating that those holding the torches were his supporters. Youngkin officials accused the McAuliffe or Virginia Democrats campaign of being involved, leading to denial.
“What happened today is disgusting and tasteless and we strongly condemn that. Those involved must apologize immediately, “McAuliffe campaign manager Chris Bolling said in a statement.
The Democratic Party of Virginia issued a statement saying neither the party nor its “coordinated partners and affiliates” had anything to do with the “events” at the campaign bus stop.
The Lincoln project then weighted, who says he is behind what he called a “demonstration”. “Youngkin’s campaign is angry about our remembrance of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants the Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate,” the group said of the former president.
The incident happens at a sensitive time in the city. Civil trial opened on Monday this will decide whether the neo-Nazis and whites who organized the demonstrations in 2017 should be held accountable for the violence.
Democratic MP Sally Hudson, who represents Charlottesville in the General Assembly, condemned the torch incident as a “cashier.”
“Charlottesville is not a prop. Our community is still struggling with years of trauma – especially this week. Don’t come back, @ProjectLincoln. Your cascades are not welcome here, ”he said he tweeted.
The Youngkin campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.