After Ed Gillespie lost the VA Governor’s race tonight, President Trump tweeted, “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”
While President Trump tried to help Gillespie by using his enormous influence on social media, the truth is, Ed Gillespie didn’t want Trump to campaign with him in a state that has been a blue state since 2004. Virginia was one of the few so-called “swing” states that went for Hillary in the 2016 presidential election.
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2017
On Oct 7, 2017, the Washington Examiner reported that Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor Ed Gillespie was keeping President Trump at arm’s length, suggesting that he viewed him as a liability in his campaign against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.
Trump, in an unexpected Thursday evening tweet, urged Virginians to vote for Gillespie on Nov. 7, while charging that Northam was soft on gang violence. Gillespie welcomed the president’s get-tough-on-crime message, but didn’t have much to say about Trump himself.
That didn’t go unnoticed by one big Trump supporter, John Fredericks, a talk radio host in Southern Virginia who asked Gillespie during a Friday conference call with reporters whether he wanted the president to campaign for him down the stretch.
Fredericks told the Washington Examiner in a subsequent interview that Gillespie’s hesitance to embrace Trump could cost him on Election Day.
“Ed failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to amplify the president’s enthusiastic endorsement of him,” said Fredericks, who served as the vice chairman of the Trump campaign in 2016.
“I was flabbergasted that the Gillespie campaign chose to downplay the president’s tweet,” he added. “This is a game changer. If Ed can motivate Trump voters to show up on Nov. 7, he’ll win this election. A simple re-tweet and thank you would have gone a long way in solidifying Trump voters’ support for Gillespie.”
After it was announced that Gillespie had lost the race, Diamond and Silk, who are Trump’s #1 fan girls, tweeted a message to “Republican Politicians that’s running for office: If you don’t support our President and his agenda, then the people will not Support you!”
A message to these Republican Politicians that's running for office: If you don't support our President and his agenda, then the people will not Support you! #AlwaysBetOnTrump pic.twitter.com/nRxdTWKOgK
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) November 8, 2017
Time will tell, but it was probably the biggest mistake of Ed Gillespie’s political career to not ask President Trump to campaign in Virginia on his behalf.