Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, criticized the organization’s recent tiki torch trick before the Virginia gubernatorial election, calling it “reckless and stupid.”
“I thought the action was reckless and stupid. It was dishonest and cheap. It is exactly the wrong way to approach the fight against a real fascist movement, against extremist elements. It showed gruesome judgment on the part of the Lincoln Project’s day-to-day management and leadership, ”Schmidt said Wednesday during a interview about “America at a crossroads.”
In late October, Project Lincoln organized a group of people to hold tiki torches while the then-Republican nominee Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinMellman: Aftermath of the 2021 Election: How Big Was That Change? Biden faces high stakes with progressives in the Fed election, Sununu’s departure underscores the GOP’s uncertain path to winning a Senate majority MORE he was campaigning in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photos from the political maneuver showed a group of men standing next to a Youngkin field bus in white shirts, khaki pants and tiki torches.
“Someone could have been hit, they could have been injured, they could have incited violence, there are 100 bad things that can happen,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt resigned from the Lincoln Project board of directors in February as the group was under scrutiny for its handling of harassment allegations against another founder. Schmidt remains involved with the organization, but denied any involvement in last month’s bogus protest in Virginia.
The Hill has contacted the Lincoln Project for comment.
The anti-Trump organization said in a statement the next day that it staged the stunt because Youngkin had not condemned a white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville in 2017.
“Today’s rally was our way of reminding Virginians of what happened in Charlottesville four years ago, the acceptance of those values by the Republican Party and Glenn Youngkin’s failure to condemn them,” the Lincoln Project said in a statement.
“If you expose Trump’s claim that the Charlottesville rioters possessed ‘very fine’ qualities, we will remove the tiki torches,” the group continued. “Until then, we will be back.”
However, the act was immediately condemned by the city of Charlottesville and the former governor. Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffe New Jersey Senate President Sweeney concedes in dramatic upset Mellman: Aftermath of the 2021 Election: How Big Was That Change? Biden faces big bets with progressives in Fed election MORE, the Democratic candidate.
“You seem to regard ‘Charlottesville’ as nothing more than a political meme, and that parading mock white supremacists through our city is nothing more than a political disguise,” the deputy mayor and three Charlottesville councilors wrote in a letter to Schmidt.
“They clearly don’t understand the extent to which their ‘joke’ inflicted real emotional pain on innocent people here in Charlottesville,” they added.