Youngkin’s closeness to the former president has been a frequent topic of conversation throughout the Virginia governor race, with former Governor Terry McAuliffe – the Democratic nominee – taking up his Republican rival’s comment in May that Trump “represents so much of why I’m running. ”
But McAuliffe’s references to Trump have become so constant that the Youngkin campaign created an all-time winking supercut web ad in which the Democratic candidate mentioned the former president’s name. The minute-long commercial ends with McAuliffe declaring implausibly: “In the end, this is not about Donald Trump.”
Nonetheless, McAuliffe rushed to respond to Trump’s statement on Monday, stating that “Glenn Youngkin’s campaign will end today as it began: with Donald Trump.”
“Since the beginning of his campaign, Glenn Youngkin has made it clear that he is running for one person and only one person: Donald Trump,” McAuliffe said in a press release. “Now, with less than 24 hours to election day, Trump is helping Glenn finish his campaign and rewarding his total loyalty over the past eight months.”
McAuliffe’s high-profile Democratic alternates have also criticized Youngkin’s support for Trump, accusing him of adopting a more extreme version of conservatism than the kind he promotes among Virginia voters in general.
“Extremism can come in many forms. He may appear in the fury of a mob driven to attack the Capitol preferred wardrobe in the election campaign.
As the race has intensified in recent weeks, Youngkin has largely avoided invoking Trump at official events, instead aiming to maintain a more moderate image to target the suburbs of Virginia’s swing voting.
Youngkin distanced himself from a Republican rally in Virginia last month where Trump spoke on the phone and supporters handed the pledge of loyalty to a U.S. flag that organizers said was flown during the January 6th Capitol Uprising.
On Monday, Trump argued that “[t]he fake news and perverts work over time to convince people that we don’t like each other and so my great and unprecedented Make America Great Again base will not be voting. “
Since leaving office, the former president has been almost determined to maintain his false claims that the 2020 elections were stolen, reiterating in his statement on Monday that he believed Virginia’s electoral system had been compromised.
“I don’t believe in the integrity of the Virginia elections, a lot of bad things have happened and are going on,” said Trump. But he added that “[t]The way you beat it is by flooding the system and getting out and voting. “
Trump described Youngkin, a former manager of investment firm The Carlyle Group, as “a good man, a hard-working man, a successful man” who “loves Virginia and wants to cut your taxes, save your children’s education and many others.” very good things. “
The former president doubled down in the afternoon, stating that “every MAGA voter should strongly support Glenn Youngkin.”
“Please vote for Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday – he will not let you down!” Said Trump in the second statement.
Just as McAuliffe has highlighted Youngkin’s ties to Trump, the Republican candidate has targeted his Democratic rival on issues such as parenting and critical racial theory.
In particular, Youngkin trumpeted McAuliffe’s remarks during a debate in September when the former governor said, “I don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach.”
According to RealClearPolitics’ polling average of the most recent polls in Virginia, Youngkin is 1.6 percentage points ahead of McAuliffe the day before the election.
Marc Caputo and Nick Niedzwiadek contributed to this report.