In an interview today with conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham, Congressman Dave Brat criticized Ed Gillespie for failing to fully embrace Donald Trump’s agenda and appeared to question the Gillespie campaign’s hyper-focus on sanctuary cities.
The interview is just the latest indication that conservatives — from Corey Stewart to theRed State blog — are alarmed with the direction of Gillespie’s campaign. During the segment, Ingraham railed against Gillespie for campaigning with George W. Bush, failing to embrace President Trump — and ignoring her offer to help the Gillespie campaign.
Most alarmingly for Team Gillespie, Brat seemingly agreed with Ingraham’s critique, saying that Gillespie’s “walking a tight line because if you bring in Bush and [you’re] not all in for Trump for the rest of the state you’re gonna have problems.” Brat went on to criticize Gillespie for only focusing on the sanctuary cities issue, saying that “he’s gotta do a little bit more than the sanctuary cities. That’s important but there’s other stuff.”
Brat is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser tonight in Richmond with Gillespie and the entire Republican ticket — it’s unclear whether he’ll air his discontent with Gillespie in public or private.
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE
Laura Ingraham: We’re talking to Congressman Dave Brat here on the Laura Ingraham show, who unseated Eric Cantor – the first time in history a sitting House majority leader lost a primary. Today, in your Commonwealth of Virginia, Ed Gillespie is campaigning with George W. Bush. Now George W. Bush campaigned with Jeb in South Carolina, they brought him out one time during the Republican primary fight when Jeb was still in the race and obviously that didn’t work out so well for Jeb. Will Gillespie bringing in Bush be positive for him in Virginia?
Dave Brat: Well that’s the tough calculation. There’s the two Virginias, you’ve got Northern Virginia types, business professional services, government jobs, a lot of cronies etc.
Laura Ingraham: They didn’t vote for Bush in Northern Virginia.
Dave Brat: No that’s right.
Laura Ingraham: They voted for Gore and they voted for Kerry.
Dave Brat: Right. So he’s walking a tight line because if you bring in Bush and [you’re] not all in for Trump for the rest of the state you’re gonna have problems because everyone wants the President’s agenda to get through like yesterday and it’s not and it’s being obstructed by the establishment. And so he’s walking a tightrope trying to get it right with Northern Virginia so he can win and the rest of the state.
Laura Ingraham: I think it’s a – you’re being very diplomatic Dave Brat, but I say it’s a huge mistake. Ed Gillespie is seen as a strong member of the establishment GOP. The establishment GOP has approval rating up in about high teens, Trump is at about, what, 38%, something like that? But the establishment is way worse off than Trump, so why – people already know that you’re not really with Trump on a lot of these core issues, but if I’m Gillespie, I’m doing talk radio, I’m trying to get Donald Trump to campaign with me, I’m on the trail with Trump saying I hear you. We in the Republican party have to get our priorities straight. We disagree on some things but I love the President’s enthusiasm. You just have to kind of fake it with Donald Trump on the trail to win this and I’ll say this Dave, and I’m not revealing anything I shouldn’t reveal, I ran into Gillespie outside of Fox News about three or four weeks ago and there’s been no love lost between the two of us. But I tried to be the bigger person and I went up to him – I called out to him – and he walked over, we were outside. And I said Ed I know you and I have disagreed on a lot of stuff and you’re not wild about me and I’m not wild about you. But I’ll help you if you need me – call on me and I’ll help you in Virginia. I think I actually could have helped him – never contacted. He never picked up the phone and contacted me, we’ve invited him on the show, he refuses to come on the radio show despite its popularity throughout the Commonwealth. And that tells you everything you need to know. You know who else didn’t come on my show? Eric Cantor, John Boehner, George W. Bush in the second term. Running away, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Flake, John McCain add him to the list. Now I’ll be fair to you – come on and I will be fair to you. And Gillespie, I actually offered to help him! But he think George W. Bush is gonna – I don’t know. God bless him I hope it all works out.
Dave Brat: Again, I think he needs to carefully walk both sides all together to win in Virginia. He needs to get Bush on his team, but he needs to get President Trump and you, and he’s gotta do a little bit more than the sanctuary cities. That’s important but there’s other stuff. He’s doing the tax cut – 10 percent – that’s good, but you’re right. He’s gotta motivate everyone in the Commonwealth. He’s gonna energize the base and so hopefully in the last few weeks he’ll pump it up and take advantage of your show.
Laura Ingraham: Well all I can say is the track record for the people who haven’t come on our show is not very good. Boehner’s gone, Cantor’s gone, McConnell is now forced to compromise with Trump I mean it’s not working out for any of these people and Gillespie didn’t even come on the last time he ran. Never came on and he lost. So I agree with you he should work with all sides he should work with establishment people he should work with radio, he’s gotta do everything to win in Virginia. Gotta have a broad approach.