The Lincoln Project on Friday evening released a statement regarding an incident reported on earlier by Guy that entailed five individuals standing in the rain, dressed identically as they carried tiki torches. The five of them posed in front of a tour bus for Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Glenn Youngkin, and said something along the lines of "we're all in for Glenn."
so it seems like the lincoln project were the group behind the tiki torch stunt in VA todat at the younkin event pic.twitter.com/aJvQ6a3mdY— David Mack (@davidmackau) October 29, 2021
These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, “We’re all in for Glenn.” Here they are standing in front of the bus as his campaign event at Guadalajara started.@NBC29 pic.twitter.com/l681ejyBjc— Elizabeth Holmes (@holmes_reports) October 29, 2021
Cameron Joseph also reported for VICE that liberal activist Lauren Windsor confirmed her role in the stunt.
“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.
The statement from The Lincoln Project read:
October 29, 2021 — Today, The Lincoln Project released the following statement:
“Glenn Younkin has said: ‘President Trump represents so much of why I am running.’ Youngkin proves it every day by trying to divide Virginians using racial code words like Critical Race Theory and supporting a ban on teaching the works of America’s only Black Nobel laureate.
“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.
“The Youngkin campaign is enraged by our reminder of Charlottesville for one simple reason: Glenn Youngkin wants Virginians to forget that he is Donald Trump’s candidate.
“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.”
That The Lincoln Project is a non-profit may raise legal concerns, as some users pointed out.
Wouldn't that be a violation of campaign finance laws? https://t.co/3dyX7Cl578— Larry O'Connor (@LarryOConnor) October 29, 2021
While many pointed out that the individuals were clearly Democrats who had been planted there, the campaign spokesperson for Terry McAuliffe--Youngkin's Democratic opponent--furthered the claim that the individuals were Youngkin supporters.
The Unite the Right rally was one of the darkest days in the Commonwealth's history. this is who Glenn Youngkin's supporters are pic.twitter.com/OpJ55r0AMr— Christina Freundlich (@christinafreund) October 29, 2021
Never forget how staffers on Terry McAuliffe’s campaign immediately spread this psy op, saying it’s “disqualifying” and that “this is who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are” pic.twitter.com/vmLb6S85l9— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 29, 2021
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) weighed in as well, sharing a now deleted tweet about the incident.
Birds of a feather. https://t.co/FpwO2G6n4m— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) October 29, 2021
Earlier in the day the congressman had promoted an ad from The Lincoln Project claiming that Youngkin made opposition to Critical Race Theory a campaign issue because he'd really rather go throw around a horrific racial slur used against African-Americans.
There’s a word @GlennYoungkin would really like to say to talk about black people, but he knows he can’t, so he codes it with “Critical Race Theory.” Don’t take my word, trust the honorable Republicans who made this ad and know how this ugly strategy works. https://t.co/J8Nqqriy0p— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) October 29, 2021
In his tweet, Swalwell referred to The Lincoln Project as "honorable Republicans."
A Youngkin campaign spokesperson said in a statement to Townhall that "the anti-Semitic march in Charlottesville was an abhorrent demonstration of hate that has no place in America."
McAuliffe, who has sought to tie his Republican opponent to former President Donald Trump throughout the entire campaign, and who often spouses falsehoods and misleading claims, recently released an ad against Youngkin which referenced Charlottesville and Trump's comment that there were "very fine people on both sides."
Predictably, the full context of Trump's comments are not included, which is that he said "I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally." Trump had also referred to people protesting the taking down of monuments and statutes.
People had offered that the publicity stunt had some involvement from the McAuliffe campaign and Virginia Democrats, though they denied involvement.
Terry McAuliffe's campaign has been the dirtiest, nastiest, most dishonest campaign in Virginia history.— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) October 29, 2021
This morning they're closing out his career by going even lower. #VAgov
I wouldn't be surprised if the Lincoln Project simply agreed to take responsibility after the fact as a favor to the McAuliffe campaign. They usually don't do grassroots, but rather sit on their boat with confederate flags writing bad ads. https://t.co/bbD7thaimW— Brian Riedl ?? (@Brian_Riedl) October 29, 2021
@TerryMcAuliffe's campaign condemned the stunt. “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 me.— Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) October 29, 2021
By Friday evening, it appears as if at least some of the individuals may have possibly been identified, though they either denied it or locked down their social media accounts.
The Lincoln Project and Dem operative @lawindsor hired operatives to pose as tiki torch-wielding white supremacists at @GlennYoungkin's Charlottesville rally today.— Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) October 29, 2021
They only took credit/blame after I told them I IDed someone in the photo.https://t.co/45vPnMMkol
The statement from the Lincoln Project came shortly before yet another high-profile Democrat has come to Virginia to campaign yet again for McAuliffe. This time it's Vice President Kamala Harris. DNC Chair Jaime Harrison is also expected to return this weekend.