Lincoln Project’s Steve Schmidt roasts his own ‘recklessly stupid’ band for tiki torch in Virginia

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Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt eviscerated his organization as “recklessly stupid” on Wednesday after planting false white supremacists as Glenn Youngkin supporters in the closing days of the Virginia governorship race.

Schmidt, who resigned from the disgraced left-wing PAC board in February amid a myriad of scandals but has not fully parted ways, Recount longtime Democrat Robert Shrum was furious. He distanced himself from the stunt, saying he had largely not been involved with the group since January.

“I learned it on the news like everyone else and I had no involvement and I was not involved at all operationally, strategically in the Virginia campaign or really on a day-to-day basis with the Lincoln project since the Georgia special elections, “he said. “On the scale of 1 to 10 of being very angry, internally I clocked at around 57 and voiced my opinions internally.”

Schmidt said he did not speak publicly at the time because he feared it would be a distraction for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, whom Schmidt and the Lincoln Project backed in a wasted effort.

GUTFELD ERASES THE “UNSTABLE SCUM CUPS AT THE LINCOLN PROJECT” THAT PERPETTED THE CANON OF VIRGINIA

“I thought the action was recklessly stupid, it was dishonest and cheap. This is exactly the wrong way to approach the fight against a real fascist movement, against extremist elements,” he said. “It showed appalling judgment from day-to-day leaders, from the management of Project Lincoln. Someone could have been beaten… could have instigated violence.”

A small group of protesters dressed as ‘Unite the Right’ rally participants with tiki torches stand on a sidewalk as Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin arrives on his bus for a campaign event at a Mexican restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States October 29, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

In the disgraced PAC’s latest faux pas, the Lincoln Project managed to send five tiki-torch-wielding people – including a black one – to a campaign event in Charlottesville on October 29 dressed in white shirts and baseball caps, claiming all being Youngkin’s supporters. The imagery was reminiscent of the horrific events in the city in 2017, when violent clashes around a “Unite The Right” rally that included white supremacists resulted in the murder of a young woman.

While many observers were immediately skeptical of the situation, staff members and McAuliffe supporters spread the lie that the tiki-torch-wielding group was legitimate.

“The Unite the Right rally was one of the darkest days in Commonwealth history. Here are who Glenn Youngkin’s supporters are,” McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said. tweeted.

SEVERAL POINTS OF SALE HELD TO REFER TO THE LINCOLN PROJECT AS “REPUBLICANS”

But after Twitter critics widely suspected it was orchestrated by opponents of Youngkin, the Lincoln Project appropriated what it called a “protest.” He released a statement saying he was supposed to remind Virginians that Republicans embrace the values ​​of those in Charlottesville, although the chief stunt organizer sent a tweet claiming to be shocked by the scene at the time.

The group has been condemned by McAuliffe and across the political spectrum for using the Charlottesville tragedy for political ends, in addition to trying to smear Youngkin. McAuliffe was beaten the following week as Republicans regained full control of the state for the first time since 2009.

Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks on election night at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, Nov. 3, 2021.

Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks during his election night at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, Nov. 3, 2021.
(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)

While Schmidt did not claim any ownership of the stunt, Charlottesville City Council still sent a scathing letter to him personally and to the group for his actions.

CHARLOTTESVILLE CITY COUNCIL FLAMES THE LINCOLN PROJECT ABOVE A TIKI TORCH LAYER IN VIRGINIA FLAMMING THE YOUNGKIN BEARERS

“The Tiki torches held up by young men dressed in white polo shirts and khakis mean one thing in Charlottesville – we are under attack,” the council wrote. “For many of our residents who clashed with the Nazis and white supremacists on our streets…

THE UNAPOLOGETIC LINCOLN PROJECT AFTER VIRAL MALINFORMATION RATES STATE SENATOR GOP HIS WORK

Schmidt disappeared from sight in February after resigning from the board amid scandals over co-founder John Weaver’s online harassment of young gay men, an alleged cover-up of Weaver’s behavior, questions about finances of Project Lincoln and funneling donor money to founding joint ventures, posting private messages from co-founder Jennifer Horn with a reporter investigating the group, and accusations of a toxic and sexist work environment . Co-founder George Conway and current Democratic adviser Kurt Bardella have called on him to disband.

Then-Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt (left) and Democratic campaign strategist Bob Shrum (right) attend an interview with the Washington Newseum on October 2, 2009.

Then-Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt (left) and Democratic campaign strategist Bob Shrum (right) attend an interview with the Washington Newseum on October 2, 2009.
(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (US POLITICAL MEDIA))

Yet Schmidt reappeared in April and said the Lincoln Project would be back “fully operational,” and he continues to make frequent appearances on MSNBC to disparage his old party. Schmidt, who was John McCain’s chief strategist in 2008 after working in George W. Bush’s White House, quit the Republican Party out of disgust for President Donald Trump in 2018 and is now a registered Democrat.

The PAC, founded by disgruntled former Republicans in late 2019, was successful in fundraising in 2020 and running viral ads designed to sting Trump, but it has been largely ineffective in persuading mobile voters. Schmidt reportedly said the Lincoln Project was his vehicle for achieving “generational wealth” and had the vision to launch a full-fledged media empire before scandals rocked the group.

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Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.



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