Former President Donald Trump won’t be on the ballot in Virginia when voters go to the polls next Tuesday, but his power as kingmaker will be.
Back in May, Trump endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.
“Congratulations to Glenn Youngkin for winning the Republican nomination for Governor of Virginia,” Trump said in a full-throated endorsement. “Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America, he knows how to make Virginia’s economy rip-roaring, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
“Glenn is running against Bill Clinton’s longtime enabler, Terry McAuliffe. Terry McAuliffe was the Clintons’ bagman in more ways than one, from the cover-ups to the get-rich-quick schemes, and his deals with Communist China look suspicious. He was responsible for many of the problems Virginia currently has. Virginia doesn’t need the Clintons or the Communist Chinese running the state, so say no to Terry McAuliffe, and yes to Patriot Glenn Youngkin!” Trump said.
Youngkin accepted the endorsement but isn’t firmly embracing the divisive former president, who has not joined the Republican at a campaign rally. In fact, Youngkin skipped a “Take Back Virginia Rally” in May that was hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, according to NBC News. Trump called in by phone to urge the crowd to vote for Youngkin.
Although Youngkin has steadfastly avoided direct criticism of Trump — who is still wildly popular in Virginia — he did put some distance between himself and Trump on the 2020 election, which the former president claims was stolen.
“There wasn’t material fraud, and I believe that the election was certifiably fair,” Youngkin said in the first gubernatorial debate in April.
Still, the mainstream media are making every effort to tie the two together, following the endless claims by McAuliffe and his top surrogates that the pair are one and the same.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday repeatedly sought to connect Trump and Youngkin during a campaign speech near the Pentagon in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
In fact, Biden mentioned Trump by name 24 times, the New York Post reported.
“‘I ran against Donald Trump. Terry is running against an acolyte of Donald Trump,” Biden said, slamming the ex-president and accusing him of inciting the January 6 Capitol riot, as well as for disparaging former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after they died,” the Post wrote.
“He won’t allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this state,” Biden claimed. “He’s willing to pledge his loyalty to Trump in private, why not in public? What’s he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed?”
For his part, McAuliffe regularly produces campaign ads that cite Trump, and he has made an effort in every debate to tie Youngkin to Trump.
“My opponent’s a Trump wannabe,” McAuliffe said in a September debate. “He’s been endorsed by Donald Trump three times. He has said, I’m honored to have his endorsement. He’s quoted saying, so much of the reason why I’m running is because of Donald Trump. That’s his quote. So he’s the one who’s inserted Donald Trump here.”
In the end, Trump’s power will, in fact, be tested, and if Youngkin loses, nearly every mainstream media story will feature Trump’s name prominently. The race will be viewed as a bellwether for the 2022 mid-term elections.
Then again, if Youngkin wins, don’t look for the establishment media to mention Trump at all.