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Lincoln Project says its behind group with tiki torches by Youngkin campaign bus during Charlottesville event

A group of people holding Tiki torches as they stand next to Glenn Youngkin's campaign bus in...
A group of people holding Tiki torches as they stand next to Glenn Youngkin's campaign bus in Charlottesville.(WVIR)
Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 2:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A rare visit to Charlottesville by Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin is being overshadowed by an incident that occurred outside a campaign stop.

Now, the Lincoln Project says it is behind the incident.

Youngkin made a stop at Guadalajara’s East Main Street location early Friday, October 29. While he was inside, several people stood with tiki torches next to his campaign bus outside the restaurant.

Tiki torches were used by many white supremacists who marched at the University of Virginia on August 11, 2017, the day before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Jason Kessler, who is listed as an organizer of the rally in federal lawsuit, carried a tiki torch while participating in that march.

Richard Spencer, who is also named in the same federal lawsuit, had taken part in a separate tiki torch-lit rally for the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville earlier that year.

The Lincoln Project put out a statement late in the afternoon, saying in part, “Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it.”

Earlier in the day - before the Lincoln Project released its statement - NBC29 had asked about Youngkin about the incident. He said, “I think they work for Terry McAuliffe, and I’m sure he sent them.”

The candidate continued, “They’ll do anything to win, and he’s doing anything to win, and so he’s paying people to show up and act silly at our rallies.”

McAuliffe’s team denied the accusation, telling NBC29 in a statement, “This was not us or anyone affiliated with our campaign.”

Virginia Democrats Executive Director Andrew Whitley tweeted a response, saying in part that it did not have any role in this event:

Statement from the Lincoln Project:

October 29, 2021 — Today, The Lincoln Project released the following statement:

“Glenn Younkin has said: ‘President Trump represents so much of why I am running.’ Youngkin proves it every day by trying to divide Virginians using racial code words like Critical Race Theory and supporting a ban on teaching the works of America’s only Black Nobel laureate.

“The Lincoln Project has run advertisements highlighting the hate unleashed in Charlottesville as well as Glenn Youngkin’s continued failure to denounce Donald Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides.’ We will continue to draw this contrast in broadcast videos, on our social media platforms, and at Youngkin rallies.

“Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it.

“The Youngkin campaign is enraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate.

“We will continue to hold Glenn Youngkin accountable. If he will denounce Trump’s assertion that the Charlottesville rioters possessed ‘very fine’ qualities, we’ll withdraw the tiki torches. Until then, we’ll be back.”

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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