Donald Trump takes aim at Gov. Youngkin after fielding criticism from other Virginia lawmakers

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Gov. Glenn Youngkin Friday, asserting in a social media post that the governor never would have been elected without his support and making a bizarre remark about his last name.

“Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me,” he wrote. “I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to vote for him — or he couldn’t have come close to winning. But he knows that, and admits it.”

Trump’s dig at Youngkin comes after two Virginia politicians — Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Del. Tim Anderson of Virginia Beach — faulted the former president this week for the GOP’s disappointing midterm results and asserted that his power in the party is waning.

But Trump’s attack might not be retaliation. Instead, it’s more likely Trump went after Youngkin — as he did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — because he views the governor as potential competition for the GOP’s 2024 presidential ticket.

Trump indicated he was about to announce another bid for the White House, and Youngkin is thought to be weighing a presidential run, too.

“This is Trump looking out to the field of potential competitors and firing a few shots across the bow,” Ben Melusky, assistant professor of political science at Old Dominion University, wrote to The Virginian-Pilot.

“If you are Trump, you are focusing the attention of your followers on these potential opponents with the goal to start creating stark differences between you and them,” he wrote.

Trump, who was posting on his social media platform, Truth Social, also wrote that Youngkin was “having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia — but he’ll get it done.”

Youngkin didn’t directly respond to Trump’s posts.

On Friday, in response to questions about Trump’s remarks, Youngkin told a gaggle of reporters that he was committed to unity, according to Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter.

“I work really hard to bring people together; I do not call people names,” Youngkin said, according to Porter. “This is a moment for us to come together. As a nation, we still have some elections outstanding that haven’t been finalized and we’ve got to find (a way) forward.”

The Republican Party of Virginia did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Gianni Snidle, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said Trump’s post was “blatantly racist, disgusting, and unnecessary.”

Snidle, however, also faulted Youngkin for declining to “buck Trump” in his response.

“Voters sent a clear message Tuesday by rejecting MAGA Republicans and their agenda,” Snidle wrote to The Pilot. “(Youngkin is) showing once again how out of touch he is with Virginians. If he truly wants to be a ‘unifier’ he should disavow Trump like his own Lt. Governor did.”

While some Republican legislators are turning on Trump, others have come to his defense.

State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, chastised Anderson and Earle-Sears this week for speaking out against the former president, calling them “weak” Republicans in a Twitter post and referring to Anderson as a “former ally and friend.”

Earlier this week, Anderson said he would not support Trump if he launched another bid for the presidency, arguing that it would be the “absolute worst thing” that could happen to Republicans in the commonwealth.

“One thing Trump does very well in Virginia is mobilizing the left to vote against him and anyone who supports him,” he wrote on Facebook.

While the infighting within the Republican Party may be a headache for some, others appear to be savoring the moment.

Rick Wilson, a political strategist and former Republican who co-founded The Lincoln Project — a political action committee dedicated to defeating “Trumpism” — shared Trump’s post attacking Youngkin on Twitter.

“Stop,” he wrote. “It’s too delicious.”

Katie King, katie.king@virginiamedia.com