President Donald Trump on Saturday weighed in on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s racial controversy — by taking a shot at his 2017 Republican gubernatorial challenger, Ed Gillespie.
“Ed Gillespie, who ran for Governor of the Great State of Virginia against Ralph Northam, must now be thinking Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty with regard to his Opposition Research Staff. If they find that terrible picture before the election, he wins by 20 points!” Trump tweeted.
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Gillespie appears to remain a sore spot for Trump, who was shunned by the Republican nominee during the high-profile 2017 election.
Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and counselor to George W. Bush, never invited Trump to campaign. After Northam won, Trump tweeted that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
Northam has been facing calls to resign after a picture in his medical school yearbook page surfaced showing two men dressed in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam initially apologized for the photo but later insisted that neither of the two men was him.
After nearly 24 hours without commenting publicly on the scandal, Trump tweeted after Northam held a press conference to deny the allegations.
Trump also referred to Northam’s controversial statement on a new bill in Virginia’s legislature that would roll back certain requirements for obtaining second and third-trimester abortions.
“Democrat Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia just stated, ‘I believe that I am not either of the people in that photo,’” Trump wrote online. “This was 24 hours after apologizing for appearing in the picture and after making the most horrible statement on ‘super’ late term abortion. Unforgivable!”
Trump is currently at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Earlier in the day, he played golf with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
Quint Forgey contributed to this report.