Home 2019 Elections Ed Gillespie’s Refusal to Stand Up to Donald Trump

Ed Gillespie’s Refusal to Stand Up to Donald Trump


Nice work by DPVA:

TO: Editorial Boards
FROM: Kevin Donohoe, Press Secretary, Democratic Party of Virginia
DATE: August 18, 2017
RE: Ed Gillespie’s Refusal to Stand Up to Donald Trump

In the wake of the President’s repeated defenses of the white supremacists behind the violence in Charlottesville, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, U.S. Representatives Barbara Comstock and Scott Taylor, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and at least six Republican U.S. Senators have condemned Trump’s defense of the white supremacists in Charlottesville.

As the denunciations of the President have rolled in over the past week, Ed Gillespie has remained silent — and in the process thrown his political capital in with the alt-right wing of today’s Republican Party. Gillespie’s former bosses — including Ohio Governor John Kasich and Mitt Romney — have denounced Trump by name to put the blame for the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides.” Business leaders have resigned en masse from the White House’s advisory councils. The President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities dissolved itself in protest of the Trump’s defense of white supremacy. Even the Joints Chief of Staff have taken the highly unusual step of distancing themselves from the president’s rhetoric on social media.

Yet Ed Gillespie has said nothing to condemn Donald Trump. It’s a cynical political calculation on Gillespie’s part — and an act of moral failure. By siding with Trump, Gillespie has provided cover for the President. He has also shattered any illusion that he is fit “to be a leader of a modern, tolerant and diverse Commonwealth.”

Conventional wisdom has said that Gillespie has largely tried to avoid discussing Trump  — but the truth is he has been supportive of the Trump administration for months. Just a few weeks ago, Gillespie’s campaign bragged that he was “eager” to work with the Trump White House. He has repeatedly said that he has close friends in the administration and even invited the President to campaign with him. And his campaign has repeatedly attacked Lt. Governor Ralph Northam for standing up for Virginia families and opposing the Trump administration’s policies on health care, tax cuts for the rich, and climate change.

Over the past week, members of the Republican Party have finally begun to publicly admit that the President of the United States is failing to lead our nation. In Virginia and across the country, Republicans and Democrats alike have condemned Donald Trump for breaking his sacred duty to serve as President for all Americans. But in an act of moral cowardice and political cynicism, Gillespie has placed his loyalty to Trump above his commitment to the values of our commonwealth.  It is a decision that he is likely to regret.

For your review, is an overview of all of the Republicans who have done what Ed Gillespie has not, and called out the President for his reaction to Charlottesville:

Virginia Republicans

Eric Cantor: “When We See The President, Basically, Ascribing, Or Assigning Equal Blame? I Just Can’t Buy It. I Just Don’t Agree With That.” [Washington Examiner, 8/15/17]

Scott Taylor: “Today’s Statements By President Trump At His Press Conference Were Disappointing And A Failure Of Leadership, Which Starts At The Top, With Him.” “Today’s statements by President Trump at his press conference were disappointing and a failure of leadership, which starts at the top, with him. I hope the President will focus on bringing people together and to challenge hate in the strongest unequivocal terms moving forward. There is no home for hate here in Virginia or America.” [Washington Post, 8/16/17]

Barbara Comstock: “Mr. President, There Were Not ‘Very Fine People’ On The NeoNazi, White Supremacist Side; Only Haters. Grateful DOJ Understands This.” [Washington Post, 8/16/17]

Republican Governors

OH: Gov. John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich “Slammed” Trump and His Decision to “Draw Some Kind of Equivalency Between the White Nationalists and Counter-Protesters Calling Trump’s Comments “Pathetic.” “Ohio Gov. John Kasich slammed Trump and his decision to “draw some kind of equivalency” between the white nationalists and counter-protesters. Pathetic. Just pathetic, isn’t it?” Kasich said Wednesday on TODAY. ‘This is terrible. The president of the United States needs to condemn these kinds of hate groups,’ added Kasich, who ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primary. ‘The president has to totally condemn this. It’s not about winning an argument.’” [NBC News, 8/16/17]

MD: Gov. Larry Hogan

Gov. Larry Hogan Said Trump “Made a Terrible Mistake” in His Charlottesville Comments. “Gov. Larry Hogan criticized President Donald J. Trump’s comments on the conflict between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., when the president blamed both sides for the violence. ‘I think he made a terrible mistake,’ Hogan told reporters in Annapolis after a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday. Hogan, a Republican governor in a state where the party is outnumbered by Democrats 2 to 1, has been judicious in his criticism of the Republican president. But in recent months he has publicly disagreed with Trump on occasion. During the public works meeting, Hogan reiterated his concern about the events that unfolded in Virginia over the weekend. A rally by Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists drew counter-protesters.” [Baltimore Sun, 8/17/17]

MA: Gov. Charlie Baker

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, Was “Deeply Disappointed” With Trump’s Response To Charlottesville. “Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said Tuesday he is “deeply disappointed” with President Trump’s response to the violence events that unfolded at a white supremacist rally over the weekend in Charlottesville. ‘When it comes to denouncing evils like white supremacy and neo-Nazism, it is vital public officials speak clearly and forcefully, and I am deeply disappointed in the President’s words today,’ Mr. Baker said in a statement. ‘What happened in Charlottesville was an act of terror, perpetrated by white supremacists — something every leader can and should denounce forcefully.’” [Washington Times, 8/16/17]

IL: Gov. Bruce Rauner

On Wednesday, Rauner Said, “I Vehemently Disagree with the President’s Comments About the Tragedy in Charlottesville.” “After steering clear of discussing President Donald Trump or even uttering his name for many months, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday issued a harsh denunciation of the president’s take on the deadly Virginia protest. ‘I vehemently disagree with the president’s comments about the tragedy in Charlottesville,’ Rauner said. ‘We must stand together against hatred and racism and bigotry and violence and we must condemn those actions in Charlottesville in the strongest terms. What I care about, the comments damage America. We are all Americans. It doesn’t matter what party, it doesn’t matter who we vote for,’ Rauner told reporters after arriving for Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair on a Harley-Davidson, his traditional method of entry. ‘What matters is that we stand for justice and fairness and equality. That’s what America is about. And racism and bigotry and violence has no place in our society.’” [Chicago Tribune, 8/16/17]

VT: Gov. Phil Scott

Gov. Phil Scott Said That President Donald Trump’s Response To Charlottesville Was “Unacceptable.” “Gov. Phil Scott said that President Donald Trump’s response to a Virginia rally of white nationalists and white supremacists was ‘unacceptable.’ […] His refusal to denounce bigotry and hateful ideals I think is unacceptable,’ Scott said of Trump. ‘I think you have to confront that, and I believe that we have an obligation to stand up to white supremacy, bigotry, and neo-Nazism, and it has no place in our nation. If we don’t denounce that as leaders,’ Scott continued, ‘then it’s setting an example for acceptance.’” [Burlington Free Press, 8/17/17]

NH: Gov. Chris Sununu

Wednesday Afternoon Gov. Sununu Said, “The President’s Comments Yesterday were Deeply Disappointing. There is No Moral Equivalence Between Those Who Espouse Racism and Hatred and Those Who Stand Up Against it.” According to WMUR, “Wednesday afternoon, Sununu weighed in on Trump’s Tuesday afternoon comments. ‘The president’s comments yesterday were deeply disappointing,’ the governor said. ‘There is no moral equivalence between those who espouse racism and hatred and those who stand up against it.’” [WMUR, 8/17/17]

National Republicans

MA: Former Gov. Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney: “Whether He Intended To Or Not, What He Communicated Caused Racists To Rejoice, Minorities To Weep, And The Vast Heart Of America To Mourn.” “I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president’s Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.” [Facebook.com, 8/18/17]

TN: Sen. Bob Corker

Corker On Trump: “He Has Not Demonstrated That He Understands What Has Made This Nation Great And What It Is Today, And He’s Got To Demonstrate The Characteristics Of A President Who Understands That.” “‘The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,’ Corker said, according to a video posted by local news website Nooga.com. ‘He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that,’ Corker added.” [CNN, 8/18/17]

AZ: Sen. John McCain

John McCain Tweet: “There’s No Moral Equivalency Between Racists & Americans Standing Up To Defy Hate& Bigotry. The President Of The United States Should Say So.” [Twitter, @SenJohnMcCain, 8/15/17]

FL: Sen. Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Tweets: “Mr. President, You Can’t Allow #White Supremacists To Share Only Part Of Blame. They Support Idea Which Cost Nation & World So Much Pain.  When Entire Movement Built On Anger & Hatred Toward People Than You, It Justifies & Ultimately Leads To Violence Against Them.” [NBC News, 8/16/17]

SC: Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Through His Statements (Tuesday), President Trump Took A Step Backward By Again Suggesting There Is Moral Equivalency Between The White Supremacist Neo-Nazis And KKK Members Who Attended The Charlottesville Rally And People Like Ms. Heyer.” “Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them. Through his statements (Tuesday), President Trump took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency. Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world.” [Post and Courier, 8/16/17]

SC: Sen. Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott: “What We Want To See From Our President Is Clarity And Moral Authority. And That Moral Authority Is Compromised When Tuesday Happens.” “‘I’m not going to defend the indefensible. I’m not here to do that,” Scott said. “His comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens. There’s no question about that.’” [CNN, 8/17/17]

CO: Sen. Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner Tweet: “Mr. President—We Must Call Evil By Its Name. These Were White Supremacists And This Was Domestic Terrorism.” [Twitter, @SenCoryGardner, 8/12/17]

PA: Rep. Charlie Dent

Charlie Dent Tweet: “@POTUS Must Stop The Moral Equivalency! AGAIN, White Supremacists Were To Blame For The Violence In #Charlottesville.” [NBC News, 8/16/17]


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