Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) on Wednesday defended a new mailer ad released by Virginia Democrats a day earlier that attempts to link Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and President Donald Trump to multiple white nationalist rallies that have recently been held in Charlottesville, Va.
McAuliffe participated in WTOP's "Ask the Governor" session, where he took questions from citizens across the state about a plethora of issues that affect them, including the upcoming gubernatorial election.
One of the questions came from NBC4 Washington's Julie Carey, who asked about the controversial mailer ad. All three campaigns on Virginia's Democratic ticket approved a new mailer ad that shows Gillespie and Trump superimposed above a photo of white nationalists holding tiki torches.
Gillespie's digital director, Eric Wilson, shared a picture of the mailer on Twitter and commented that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam's campaign had reached a "new low."
— Eric Wilson (@ericwilson) October 25, 2017
Carey said that Gillespie has disavowed the white nationalists from the beginning and asked McAuliffe whether Virginia Democrats are showing signs of "desperation" by painting Gillespie alongside extremist figures.
"I haven't seen this particular mailer. Do you have it there?" McAuliffe asked.
"Pictures of it," Carey said.
McAuliffe reiterated that he has not seen the mailer, but that he believes its creators are trying to make the point he has been addressing.
"But on the issue of Charlottesville, governor, he's [Gillespie has] been very clear from the beginning, he says the people who were protesting there carrying torches were off the political spectrum they're so bad. So why is this fair to show him in that way?" Carey asked.
McAuliffe then attacked Gillespie, likening his ads against Northam to the "hatred" and "bigotry" of white supremacists, the KKK, and the alt-right. He said there is "no difference."
"They are bringing hatred, fear, and bigotry to our state," McAuliffe said. "I haven't seen this mailer, but I'm just telling you, if you're going to run for governor, tell me what you're going to do, and trying to attack Ralph Northam, a VMI graduate and Army doctor, who served our troops who had been injured and was a doctor for them, who has been a great state senator, a great lieutenant governor, and for Enron Ed to come in here and do these divisive ads against Ralph Northam is a disgrace."
"And I'm telling you, people don't like it here in Virginia," McAuliffe added. "They are happy today. They feel great about where we are."