Former President Donald Trump implored his Virginia supporters Monday night to turn out for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin — saying Tuesday’s election is their chance to “send a very strong message” to Democrats ahead of next year’s midterms.
“Tomorrow, I’d like to ask everyone to get out and vote for Glenn Youngkin,” Trump said during the “tele-rally,” according to Fox News. “He’s a fantastic guy.”
“This is your chance to break the grip on the radical left, that they have on the commonwealth,” the 45th president added. “You can send a very strong message to Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, AOC plus three. You’ve got to send a message to this really corrupt media.”
Trump also threw in a few jabs at Youngkin’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia between 2014 and 2018.
“Very shady Terry McAuliffe, I know him very well,” he said. “He was not a successful governor, he was not a good governor, but he’s gotten worse. He’s made a corrupt bargain with the radical left, the extremists who control the Democratic Party.”
Trump also warned Virginians that McAuliffe would be “looking to massively raise your taxes,” was “weak on crime” and would “shred your Second Amendment,” in an echo of his pre-election rhetoric from years past.
Youngkin did not take part in the tele-rally, as he was traveling from Virginia Beach to the town of Leesburg in Loudoun County for his final rally of the campaign.
Trump’s virtual appearance followed an emailed statement earlier Monday, in which he emphasized that Youngkin has had “my Complete and Total Endorsement for many months!”
“Everything is on the line in this election, and every MAGA voter should strongly support Glenn Youngkin,” Trump warned. “We must win bigger than the margin of fraud by flooding the polls with those that believe in America First. Please vote on Tuesday for Glenn Youngkin — he will not let you down!”
Youngkin has successfully kept Trump at arm’s length during the grueling campaign. He accepted the former president’s endorsement after winning the Republican nomination in May, but has disavowed his claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by the Democrats, and emphatically condemned the deadly Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters at the US Capitol.
McAuliffe and his allies, however, have attempted to link Trump with Youngkin in an effort to shore up votes among suburbanites who helped President Biden carry Virginia by 10 percentage points last year.
On Oct. 25, for example, Biden mentioned Trump’s name two dozen times in a 17-minute speech he gave at a rally for McAuliffe in Arlington, Va.
McAuliffe appeared to change tack over the weekend, saying Saturday that the election was “not about Trump.”
“It is just killing Trump that he is not here, obviously,” McAuliffe told CNN. “I think Trump is trying to play whichever happens, Trump is always going to claim credit for himself no matter whatever happens. Trump is very unpopular in this state. Everyone knows that. That is probably why Youngkin doesn’t want him. I’d love to have him come in. But you know… this is not about Trump.”
McAuliffe had reverted to form at his own election eve rally in Fairfax County, falsely claiming that Youngkin was “doing an event” with Trump.
While most polls and analysts predict the outcome of Tuesday’s election is likely to be a tossup, surveys have shown a large shift in Youngkin’s direction in recent weeks.
The website FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows the Republican leading by 1 percentage point Monday evening, while the RealClearPolitics polling average showed Youngkin up by 1.7 percentage points.