Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie was soundly beaten in the state of Virginia on Tuesday night by Ralph Northam, and President Donald Trump wasted no time throwing Gillespie under the bus on the same day he had urged voters to turn out for him.
“Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” Trump tweeted, distancing himself from a failed candidate.
That same morning, Trump tweeted that “MS-13 and crime will be gone” because of Gillespie and said, “Vote today, ASAP!”
But major salt in the wound for Gillespie came from an unlikely source, as a seemingly innocuous photo of a father and son at a watch party for the Republican was summarily mocked by the internet.
An hour after Trump’s tweet last night, Politico tweeted a photo of a father “consol[ing]” his cheese-eating, MAGA-hat-wearing, Gillespie-campaign-stickered son by patting him on his shoulders.
The internet response to this was not very nice.
Northam’s victory set off overnight recriminations and finger-pointing among Trump’s hardcore supporters. The pro-Trump website Breitbart News, which had earlier praised Gillespie as a “culture warrior,” derided him as a “Republican swamp thing.” Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said Northern Virginia’s voter-rich liberal suburbs should be annexed by the District of Columbia, “to return the governance of [Virginia] to Virginians.”
Democrats also scored victories in the race for New Jersey governor and in Maine, where voters slapped the state’s Republican governor, a Trump ally, by backing a measure to expand Medicaid coverage under former President Barack Obama’s health care law. The Democratic mayors of New York and Boston, both vocal Trump critics, also won re-election easily.
“The Democratic Party is back, my friends,” claimed Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.