‘Is there a problem with Trump being here?’
President Biden crossed the Potomac to campaign with Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday night, a week before Virginia chooses its next governor. It is a tight race between McAuliffe and his Republican rival, former private equity executive Glenn Youngkin, and Biden pointedly asked the crowed why Youngkin is not campaigning with the head of his party, former President Donald Trump.
“Think about it, he won’t allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this state,” Biden said. “And 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?”
“In addition to firing up Democrats,” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny tweeted, “Biden seems to have another mission here tonight at this McAuliffe rally: Trying to goad Donald Trump to weigh in on the race in the final week.” Trump’s “(relative) quiet” on the Virginia race “has been a boon” to Youngkin and “disappointed Democrats,” The New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin agreed, and now “Biden himself is throwing chum in the water.”
Biden touted McAuliffe’s accomplishments as governor in his 15-minute speech, but he also “hit Trump on everything from his claims of election fraud, the pandemic, and the Jan. 6 insurrection, to the former president’s recent attacks on former Secretary of State Colin Powell following his death,” Politico recaps. He also tied Youngkin to Trump by arguing that extremism comes in many forms, like in a mob siege of the Capitol or “in a smile and a fleece vest.”
While McAuliffe has been “”hammering Youngkin for his ties to Trump,” Youngkin has been trying to turn out his base by “pressing culture war issues — prompting a debate over banning books in high school classrooms,” The Associated Press reports. McAuliffe passed out copies of Toni Morrison’s Beloved at his rally. Youngkin spent Tuesday campaigning down south in Clarksville and Danville, where he called his campaign “a movement” and apparently pledged to audit the DMV.