Republicans in Virginia attended a rally for gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and the rest of the GOP ticket during which they recited the pledge of allegiance in front of a flag that was said to have been flown during the Trump speech in Washington DC on 6 January before a mob of the former president’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol.
Former President Donald Trump called into the rally attended by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon near Richmond, telling attendees that he wanted to be with them “live” eventually before going on to boost Mr Youngkin.
“I hope Glenn gets in there, and he’ll straighten out Virginia,” Mr Trump said. “He’ll lower taxes and do all the things we want a governor to do.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, a former governor of the state, tweeted: “Glenn Youngkin was endorsed again tonight by Donald Trump at a rally where attendees pledged allegiance to a flag flown at the deadly January 6th insurrection. Beyond disturbing, this is sick. And Glenn is honoured to have Trump’s endorsement.”
Mr Youngkin didn’t attend the event where Mr Trump said he “is a great gentleman”. The ex-president went on to yet again make the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen. “We won in 2016. We won in 2020 – the most corrupt election in the history of our country, probably one of the most corrupt anywhere. But we’re gonna win it again.”
Mr Trump issued a statement a few hours earlier, saying: “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a statement on 12 November 2020: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
The event started with the pledge of allegiance to a flag that the Republican emcee Martha Boneta said was present “at the peaceful rally with Donald J Trump on January 6”, The Washington Post reported.
More than 600 people have been charged with crimes committed in connection to the Capitol riot that followed the 6 January Trump rally and 100 people have pleaded guilty.
Mr Bannon also false statements about the 2020 election and claimed that Mr Trump would make a comeback in 2024, if not earlier.
“We’re gonna build the wall. We’re going to confront China,” Mr Bannon told the crowd. “We’re putting together a coalition that’s gonna govern for 100 years.”
Mr Trump spoke about campaigning with Mr Younkin, a former private equity executive, in person.
“We’ll have to do one together, where we’re all live together,” he said. “I sort of like that idea.”
Former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka blasted Mr Youngkin when he didn’t appear on Mr Gorka’s podcast. But last weekend, Mr Youngkin acquiesced and appeared on the programme.
“What they want to hear from you is that you support the ‘America First’ agenda, you support making America great again and that you won’t be just a ... Mitt Romney for Virginia,” Mr Gorka said, mentioning the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Utah Senator who has been critical of Mr Trump. “What can you do to reassure Trump supporters that that is not who you are?”
“The president knows I am a ‘Virginia First’ governor’s candidate,” Mr Youngkin said. “I’m so angry with what’s going on in Virginia. And we are going to save Virginia.”
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