After responding to his victory rally crowds’ “Lock her up” chants by saying it “might just happen,” the Republican Senate candidate who won the GOP primary in Virginia on Tuesday evening, Corey Stewart, again suggested that his opponent should be jailed.
During a turbulent interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night, Stewart suggested that his opponent, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was at the “center” of reports that a government informant was deployed to meet with members of the Trump campaign to probe their contacts with Russian officials at the start of what we now consider the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. President Donald Trump, Stewart —who claims he won because he fully aligned himself with Trump — and other far-right Republicans have seized on reports of the informant as evidence that a spy was sent to infiltrate Trump’s campaign. The President himself has dubbed the whole ordeal “spygate.”
“’ll tell you something, I really do believe that Tim Kaine has been at the center of all this stuff that you’re seeing with regard to the FBI, you know the whole problem is having the FBI spying by federal agency on a presidential campaign,” Stewart told Cuomo, who interrupted him to say there was “no proof” to back up his allegations.
Stewart shot back: “We’re not in a court of law are we?”
“That doesn’t mean the truth doesn’t apply, my brother,” Cuomo said.
Stewart then repeated his claim that Kaine and the entire commonwealth of Virginia were at the “center” of the informant controversy.
“I would not be surprised if there’s an investigation of Tim Kaine before the year is out,” Stewart said. “Look here’s the question, at the end of the day people have to ask themselves, what has Tim Kaine accomplished in his six years in the United States Senate? Tim Kaine can’t point to a single accomplishment in the United States Senate for Virginia or Virginians. The only thing that Tim Kaine has done in the past six years is run for vice president, and he didn’t even do a very good job at that, I might add.”
Then this morning, Stewart tweeted that Kaine is a terrorist.
Virginia's sitting senator approves of and even applauds his son's participation in a known terrorist organization, #Antifa.— Corey Stewart (@CoreyStewartVA) June 14, 2018
Let that sink in. https://t.co/7foEPLKYHT
It's only Thursday. Stewart has been the GOP candidate for Senate for less than 48 hours. And when I say Stewart is a white supremacist, I'm 100% not being hyperbolic.
He once stood proudly before a Confederate flag, declaring it was not a symbol of hatred, but “about our heritage.”
After the march of torch-carrying white supremacists in Charlottesville last year, which led to the death of a counterprotester, he criticized “weak Republicans” who “couldn’t apologize fast enough.”
As officials around Virginia have grappled with whether to remove Confederate statues, he has compared those politicians to leaders of the Islamic State.
Now Corey Stewart, a county official who for years has played to the hard-right fringe, captured the Republican nomination for Senate in Virginia.
He did so in a low-turnout primary on Tuesday when many centrist Republicans apparently stayed home, unhappy with a three-way race among candidates all professing strong loyalty to President Trump and given to fiery culture war pronouncements.
Mr. Stewart, the chairman of a county board of supervisors who briefly led Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign in Virginia, received a congratulatory overnight tweet from the president, who called Mr. Stewart’s Democratic opponent, Senator Tim Kaine, “a total stiff.”
Tellingly, though, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s campaign arm, said it would not support Mr. Stewart, who lags far behind Mr. Kaine in fund-raising and has a history of cozying up to white supremacists and anti-Semites that threatens to make him an albatross for down-ballot Republicans.
White House officials said the president was unlikely to cross the Potomac River to campaign personally for Mr. Stewart unless there were signs that his race against Mr. Kaine had become competitive.
The real worry for national Republicans — and the hope for Democrats — is that Mr. Stewart’s nomination may cost some incumbent Republicans in Virginia their seats in Congress.
When he loses, I hope he takes the rest of the Virginia GOP down with him.