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Biden mocks Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin for not campaigning with Trump: 'Is he embarrassed?'

Oct 27, 2021, 20:30 IST
Business Insider
President Joe Biden speaks at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. Alex Brandon/AP
  • Biden on Tuesday mocked Virginia's GOP gubernatorial candidate for not campaigning with Trump.
  • Glenn Youngkin has praised Trump but delicately distanced himself from the former president.
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President Joe Biden mocked Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin for not campaigning with former President Donald Trump, asking, "What's he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here?"

Biden made the comments during a campaign rally for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday night, just a week out from the November 2 election where McAuliffe will face Youngkin in his bid for a second term as governor.

"Terry's opponent has made all his private pledges of loyalty to Donald Trump but what's really interesting to me is that he won't stand next to Donald Trump now that the campaign's on," Biden said. "Think about it. He won't allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this state. And he's willing to pledge his loyalty to Donald Trump in private, why not in public? What's he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed?"

Youngkin, a relative political newcomer, is a former private equity executive who, unlike McAuliffe, has never held office or faced Virginia voters before.

And with no tangible political record to attack him over, McAuliffe's team has gone all-in on painting Youngkin as a disciple and carbon copy of Trump, who lost Virginia to Biden by a margin of 10 points in the 2020 presidential election.

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At the Tuesday rally, Biden similarly tied Youngkin directly to Trump, saying: "I ran against Donald Trump, and Terry is running against an acolyte of Donald Trump."

The president also linked Youngkin to the political extremism Trump's supporters displayed during the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol.

"Extremism has come in many forms. It can come in the rage of a mob driven to assault the Capitol. It can come in a smile and a fleece vest," referring to Youngkin's preferred campaign trail attire.

Biden also went on to condemn Trump for criticizing former Secretary of State Colin Powell after he died last week.

"I'd say it's unbelievable but it's not. Trump did the same thing about John McCain," Biden said, referring to Trump's attacks on the longtime Arizona senator and war hero.

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While Youngkin has praised Trump and holds some significant overlap with the former president's policy positions, he's also focused his campaign messaging on local issues and steered clear of directly portraying himself as Virginia's own version of Trump.

"The person that's going to be campaigning here for the next two and a half weeks is Glenn Youngkin. I am on the ballot," Youngkin told reporters in mid-October, according to NBC.

Youngkin did not attend a recent Henrico County rally held on his behalf and hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Trump called in to lend his support, calling Youngkin "a great gentleman" and McAuliffe a "lousy governor," in addition to repeating his lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

Youngkin also distanced himself from a group of people who reportedly recited the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag flown during the Capitol insurrection, calling it "weird and wrong" and the events of January 6 "sickening and wrong."

Biden, for his part, wrapped up his speech on Tuesday night by encouraging the crowd to vote for McAuliffe.

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"Show up for democracy, for Virginia, for the United States of America," he said.

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