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Anti-Trump group takes credit for tiki torch stunt at Youngkin event in Charlottesville

During a campaign stop, several people with tiki torches stood next to Youngkin's campaign bus, a repeat of what groups did ahead of the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from Oct. 27, 2021.

The Lincoln Project is taking credit for a stunt at an event for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday morning.

Charlottesville TV station WVIR reports that while Youngkin made a stop at a local restaurant, several people with tiki torches stood next to his campaign bus outside.

The incident repeats what happened ahead of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where a group of white nationalists held tiki torches while marching through the University of Virginia's campus.

On Friday, the group released a statement admitting it was behind the incident.

“Today’s demonstration was our way of reminding Virginians what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the Republican Party’s embrace of those values, and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn it," the statement read.

In the statement, the group hinted at returning to Youngkin campaign events, unless "he will denounce Trump’s assertion that the Charlottesville rioters possessed ‘very fine’ qualities."

The Lincoln Project is a political action committee founded in late 2019 by a group of Republicans who sought to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. After Joe Biden's victory, they continued to support candidates in various races nationwide, including Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election.

McAuliffe Campaign Manager Chris Bolling denounced the incident, calling on those involved to apologize.

"What happened today in Charlottesville is disgusting and distasteful and the McAuliffe campaign condemns it in the strongest terms," Bolling tweeted.

Andrew Whitley, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the party nor its affiliates had anything to do with the demonstration.

"What happened in Charlottesville four years ago was a tragedy and one of the darkest moments in our state's recent memories and is an event not to be taken lightly," Whitley tweeted.

13News Now reached out to Youngkin's campaign and the Republican Party of Virginia for a comment on this incident. 

They responded by pointing us to an interview Mr. Youngkin did with Breitbart on Saturday in which he said: “I don’t care who claims responsibility for it. It was done by the Democrats. And that is absolutely beyond pale in Virginia. It’s not consistent with Virginia’s values — it’s not consistent with anyone’s values."

Breitbart also reported that Lauren Windsor, a Democrat operative, had admitted in a Tweet to being involved with planning the stunt.

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