Lincoln Project Says It Planted White Supremacist Impersonators At Event For Virginia Republican Candidate

The Lincoln Project, a controversial group that was founded by Trump critics, admitted to sending a group dressed up as white supremacists and tiki torch-wielding savages to a Friday event in Virginia for Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. This bizarre stunt occurred days before Youngkin takes on Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Glenn Youngkin, Republican candidate for governor, speaks to journalists on September 23, [+] 2021 in Fairfax (Virginia). Getty Images

The Key Facts

A local TV reporter noticed five people standing in front the candidate campaign bus in Charlottesville, Va. wearing white button-down shirts with clenching torches and clenching their tiki torches. This was a reference to the far right extremists who overtook Charlottesville in 2017. The Lincoln Project issued a statement claiming credit for the stunt hours later. It called it our way to remind Virginians of what happened in Charlottesville four year ago, the Republican Party's embrace of those same values and Glenn Youngkins failure of condemnation. Forbes did not request further comment. Matt Wolking, Youngkins' communications director, suggested McAuliffes campaign collaborated with the Lincoln Project in a Friday tweet. This was an accusation that the state Democratic Party has denied and called shameful.

Important Quote

Well, if [Youngkin] denounces Trump's claim that the Charlottesville rioters had very fine qualities then we will withdraw the tiki torch. The Lincoln Project stated in its statement that we will be back until then.


The Charlottesville stunt was not well received. It was criticized by McAuliffe as well as Youngkins. Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R), who shared the ire of Trump's Lincoln Projects, called it stupid, desperate and dishonest.

Chief Critic

The events of today in Charlottesville are disgusting and unacceptable, and the McAuliffe Campaign condemns them in the strongest terms.

Important Background

Virginians will vote Tuesday for a new Democratic governor. Ralph Northam. Recent polls show McAuliffe, a former governor, is tied with Youngkin. Youngkin is a former executive in private equity and is trying to end eight years Democratic control over Virginia's governors mansion. This race has become a national political referendum. This week, President Joe Biden called Youngkin an American Trump acolyte. Youngkin spent weeks suggesting McAuliffe had promoted critical race theory. This academic analysis of systemic racist has drawn backlash from conservatives across the country. (McAuliffe called these claims fabricated, a plan for division and a whistle in a CNN interview).


The Lincoln Project was founded by Republican political operatives, who wanted to deny Trump a second term. Its ads, which skewer Trump and sometimes seemed to irritate him, attracted national attention. The scandal began in January when the New York Times reported that John Weaver, one of its founders sent 21 men unsolicited sexually suggestive emails. Weaver later apologized for his actions. Later, the Associated Press reported that the group was made aware of harassment allegations in 2020. Weaver and Steve Schmidt, cofounders of the Lincoln Project, left earlier this year. Schmidt however maintained that he did not know about the allegations.

Surprising Fact

The Lincoln Project is not the first to enter Virginia politics. An earlier online ad by the group attempted to link Youngkin with Donald Trump.

Additional Reading:

Lincoln Project Posed as Charlottesville White Supremacists At GOP Event (Vice).