The Lincoln Project took responsibility Friday evening for the tiki torch hoax, which involved five people raising tiki torches in front of candidate Glenn Youngkin’s campaign bus – “an obvious nod to Charlottesville and white supremacy — as many surmise it is nothing more than a stunt by the Democrat’s supporters days before Election Day,” Breitbart News reported.
The Lincoln Project’s admission reads in part:
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.
But the Lincoln Project took former President Trump’s comments out of context. At Trump’s second impeachment trial, the president’s lawyers refuted that Trump ever called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people.” A record of Trump’s full statement reveals Trump said there “were very fine people, on both sides”:
Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group. Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
The Lincoln Project’s statement comes after questions arose on social media of who might be the five individuals and for whom do they work. At least one of the individuals was identified by social media as a campaign staffer for Democrat McAuliffe:
One of them is the financial director for the Virginia Young Democrats… and since being outed as such, has made his Twitter private.
You're welcome for me doing your job for you. pic.twitter.com/YVhNbm74bP
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) October 29, 2021
Youngkin responded to viral photos by stating the five individuals must work for McAuliffe and were sent by him:
I think they work for Terry McAuliffe, and I’m sure he sent them. 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.
The Democrat Party of Virginia, meanwhile, denied their “coordinated partners” or “affiliates” had anything to do with the stunt while highlighting Charlottesville, a wink to white supremacy, as a “tragedy and one of the darkest moments in our state’s recent memories.”
Statement on Glenn Youngkin’s bus stop earlier today: pic.twitter.com/Hw0svCAW9W
— Andrew Whitley (@AndrewWhitleyVA) October 29, 2021
It appears McAuliffe’s campaign has yet not responded to the stunt. But McAuliffe’s silence has not stopped #TikiGate from trending on Twitter:
McAuliffe has been dropping in the polls of late. A Thursday poll by Fox News revealed Youngkin has increased his lead over McAuliffe by eight points (53-45 percent) among likely voters.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø