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Five people dressed like the white supremacists who caused the violent “Unite the Right” riots in Charlottesville four years ago showed up outside of Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin’s event in the town on Friday.
But instead of actual “Unite the Right” supporters, it turns out it was a half-baked stunt from the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who oppose ex-President Trump—and Youngkin.
The tiki torch-wielding stunt occurred just days before Youngkin’s hotly contested election against Democratic former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe—and the same week the trial began for the white supremacists who’ve been charged with conspiring to ignite the riot.
The Lincoln Project acknowledged they were behind the stunt after VICE News identified one of the people dressed in the photo in front of Youngkin’s campaign bus as a low-level Democratic operative who has recently been working for Democratic sting operator Lauren Windsor’s The Undercurrent. Her group has repeatedly gone undercover as conservative activists to goad politicians into saying what’s really on their mind—and has also held events alongside the Lincoln Project in recent days.
“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 Lincoln Project said in an unnamed statement. “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.”
Windsor acknowledged her role in the event.
“In my capacity as a communications consultant, I worked with the Lincoln Project to coordinate this action. I join them in the fight to defend our democracy from rightwing extremists and in calling for Glenn Youngkin to denounce Trump’s ‘very fine people,’” Windsor said in a statement to VICE News.
That operative who attended the Charlottesville rally, furthest to the right in the above photo, can be seen on camera in their most recent sting.
Here he is with Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams:
This isn’t the first time Windsor’s group has messed with Youngkin. Her group was the one that got him on-record saying he was “staunchly, unabashedly pro-life,” but didn’t want to talk about it on the campaign trail to avoid alienating moderate voters earlier in the campaign—a video that made it into the campaign ads for Youngkin’s opponent, former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe’s campaign condemned the actions.
“What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize,” Terry for Virginia Campaign Manager Chris Bolling told VICE News in a statement.
With just days to go before the election in a neck-and-neck race, this insensitive stunt appears to have backfired.