GOP’s Youngkin Tries to Paint Democratic Opponent as Friend of Trump

Former Carlyle Group co-CEO Glenn Youngkin may have earned Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Virginia governor’s race, but now he’s the one trying to tie the former president to his opponent.

After former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe ran an ad highlighting Trump’s endorsement of Youngkin, the Republican’s campaign responded with its own ad highlighting McAuliffe’s past ties to Trump.

Youngkin’s 30-second ad notes that Trump donated $25,000 to McAuliffe’s first, unsuccessful 2009 campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The ad also features footage from a 2017 National Governor’s Association dinner in which Trump toasted McAuliffe as a “friend of mine” he had known for a “long time.”

GOP’s Youngkin Tries to Paint Democratic Opponent as Friend of Trump

“Terry McAuliffe is dishonest,” the narrator says. “He spends all his time attacking Donald Trump, but here’s the truth ... McAuliffe did anything to get Trump’s money.”

In a statement last week, Trump said Youngkin was a “successful businessman” who “will truly Make Virginia Great Again” and called McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, “a failed and unpopular governor.”

GOP’s Youngkin Tries to Paint Democratic Opponent as Friend of Trump

In the Republican primary for Virginia governor, Youngkin embraced Trump, crediting him for a “rip-roaring economy.” He put an emphasis in his campaign on election integrity and declined to acknowledge that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Polls show a tight race between McAuliffe and Youngkin in Virginia, where Trump lost by 10 points in 2020.

The McAuliffe campaign pushed back against the ad’s premise.

“No amount of bogus advertising will hide Virginians from Glenn Youngkin’s own words: that he is ‘honored’ to have Donald Trump’s endorsement and ‘Donald Trump represents so much’ of why he’s running,” said McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich.

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