Donald Trump plans last-minute event ahead of Virginia governor election


Former US President Donald Trump is stepping into the hotly contested Virginia governor’s race with a tele-rally planned on Monday for Republican Glenn Youngkin.

r Trump will not be appearing with Mr Youngkin, and the call-in event will take place the day before an election in which Mr Youngkin appears to be running neck-and-neck with Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Mr McAuliffe has tried throughout the race to tie his opponent to the former president who lost the state by 10 points in 2020.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Youngkin has played a delicate dance, trying to win over Mr Trump’s loyal base, which he needs to win the election, while at the same time avoiding more extreme positions that might turn off more moderate voters, particularly those in suburban Washington and Richmond.

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Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin holds an early vote rally (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Such moderates turned against Mr Trump and helped deliver President Joe Biden’s victory.

The last time Mr Trump waded into the race – calling into a rally organised by his conservative allies – Mr McAuliffe’s campaign quickly made ads featuring Mr Trump’s praise of the Republican, even though Mr Youngkin had not attended the event.

On Wednesday night, Mr Trump issued a cryptic statement suggesting he might make a last-minute, first appearance in Virginia before the election, though officials in the state said nothing was planned.

“Thank you, Arlington, see you soon!” he wrote after supporters briefly interrupted a Biden rally for Mr McAuliffe.

Mr Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich later said the former president looked “forward to being back in Virginia! Details will be released when appropriate,” but no event was announced.

Mr Youngkin has largely campaigned without big Republican names while his opponent has appeared with the biggest names in Democratic politics, like Mr Biden and former President Barack Obama, as well as celebrities such as musician Dave Matthews.

Democrats immediately criticised Mr Youngkin for Mr Trump’s involvement.

Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, called on Mr Youngkin to tell voters immediately whether he plans to take part in the event, which she said shows the two “can’t stay away from each other”.

“Donald Trump is on the ballot, make no mistake about it,” she said. “His name may not be on the ballot, but he is on the ballot.”

Mr McAuliffe also tweeted about the news, saying, “Virginians, let’s come together to REJECT Trump and send a powerful message to the nation: we are not going back.”





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